Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Togo : will president Faure Gnassingbe win a third 5-year term ?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Controversy reigns 100 years after the Armenian genocide

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Migrant Deaths: Politicians Divided after Emergency EU Summit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The G-Word: Turkey and the Armenian Genocide

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

What will the new French healthcare bill change?

Read more

#TECH 24

Space Special: Happy Birthday, Hubble!

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Meeting Marseille's Armenian community

Read more

REPORTERS

Saving French soldiers' WWI trench carvings

Read more

ENCORE!

Armenia, 100 years on

Read more

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 9.10 pm Paris time.

REPORTERS

REPORTERS

Latest update : 2013-02-01

Denis Mukwege, the Congolese doctor who 'heals' raped women

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, rape has become a weapon of war. For over a dozen years, gynaecologist Denis Mukwege has operated on more than 30,000 raped and mutilated women. With his help, they have begun to put their ordeal behind them and rebuild their lives. The doctor, who is considered a hero, is continuing his fight despite an attempt on his life. Our reporters Marc Perelman and Johan Bodin met him.

For several years, I had been hearing about Denis Mukwege, a gynaecologist who heals raped women in the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In late October, I learned that there had been an attempt on his life and that he had fled his hometown of Bukavu.

After a few weeks, I eventually managed to get in touch with him. I asked him if he would be willing to grant me an interview during a visit to Paris, one of a number of Western capitals he was touring during his forced exile to alert world leaders about the tragic fate of the raped and tortured women of the Congo. He agreed and told me that he was going back to Bukavu in mid-January - and offered me to come along.

After I interviewed him and heard him tell his story, especially how the women of Bukavu had collected money to pay for his flight ticket, I was convinced. I pitched a report on his journey home to my editors, who immediately agreed. And so a few days later, with Johan Bodin, we started following the Congolese doctor from Paris to his brother’s home in Belgium, then on to Burundi and finally Bukavu where he was welcomed as a hero.

Before and during his return trip, he told us he was worried about his safety and he had to work the phones to ensure that the local police and UN troops would protect him. Once there, he was quickly reassured, although he didn't like being followed around the clock by armed guards. While we inquired about the murder attempt against him and focused on his fierce denunciations of armed groups who use rape to instil fear and seize control of the many riches of Eastern Congo, he insisted that our priority should be to listen to the women.

From his surgery to the kindergarten, from the police prison cells to the safe houses, we were confronted with sometimes unbearable stories. But those stories need to be told and heard.

By Marc Perelman

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2015-04-24 World War I

Saving French soldiers' WWI trench carvings

In 1914, a former underground quarry in Picardy in northern France is requisitioned by the French army. For almost four years, hundreds of soldiers were stationed there. Many...

Read more

2015-04-17 Armenia

Turkey’s hidden Armenians search for stolen identity

In 1915, during World War I, the Ottoman Empire ordered the extermination of the Armenian people. One and a half million were killed in the first genocide of the 20th century....

Read more

2015-04-10 Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso: Generation Sankara

Six months after the ouster of Blaise Compaoré, Burkina Faso is attempting to organise its first democratic elections, set for October. Fears of a coup still loom. But from...

Read more

2015-04-03 Islam

Inside the French Islamic Organisation

Ever since the January terror attacks in Paris, debate has focussed on how well integrated France's Muslim community is. One organisation that has come under the spotlight in...

Read more

2015-03-27 Venezuela

Video: San Cristobal, Venezuela's tinderbox

For more than a year, protests against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government have frequently flared in the town of San Cristobal, in the western state of Tachira.

Read more