Women's war - a documentary about sexual violence in conflicts
”We can talk, talk and talk – but nobody listens to us”. The words are uttered by a Congolese woman in the short documentary Women’s war by Marika Griehsel. Approximately 20 000 women were raped during the war in Bosnia and Hercegovina in the early 1990s, in the DR Congo it is estimated that between 200 000 and 500 000 women and children have been raped during the 14 years long war. Women’s war shows an exchange initiated by the Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation between women human rights activists from the Balkans and the DR Congo in 2009.
Women’s war focuses on the meeting between Esther Munyerenka a social worker at the Panzi Hospital in the DR Congo, and Mira Vilusic a psychologist in Tuzla, Bosnia and Hercegovina. Some moments in the film are very strong and remain with the viewer. As when Mira Vilusic says: ”I am so mad about the fact that nobody does anything. No one did anything in Bosnia, in Kosovo. There is a war going on against the women of Congo. A war where rape is the weapon”.
In the Spring of 2009, a unique exchange took place between women’s organisations in the Balkans and social workers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, that all work on issues relating to sexual violence against women in conflict. Women activists and practitioners from the Balcans and the DR Congo visited each other and exchanged their specific knowledge and experiences for supporting women who have beenraped and sexually abused.
The exchange was filmed by Marika Griehsel, a Swedish journalist, and resulted in a 20 minutes long documentary – Women’s War. The documentary sheds light on the devastating consequences of sexual violence on women’s lives and on societies at large. The film also makes visible the strength and perseverance of women rights activists who support victims of violence and who strive to make rape in war the political issue it should be, in accordance with UNSCRs 1325, 1820 and 1888. These resolutions reflect women’s role for peace and security just as they state women’s particular vulnerability in armed conflict and emphasize that sexual violence undermines the prospects for peace.
Women’s War is a captivating and powerful film about grief, frustration and activism. It is meant to be used as a means to engender a discussion on the role of supporting victims of sexual violence in war as well as to support the people who help them, most often local women activists, and on the need to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Women’s war is available with subtitles in Swedish, English, Bosnian and French. It can be ordered from Kvinna till Kvinna. Please e-mail us.
Facts about Women’s war:
A film by Marika Griehsel on assignment by the Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation
Photography: Anders Kronborg
Cutting: Britta Norell
Music: Camilla Griehsel, Andrés Pardo and Julio “Chocolate” Algendones
Updated in: 2010-02-08