Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Iraq: Islamic State group's child soldiers

Read more

DEBATE

Netanyahu on Capitol Hill: Israeli PM calls for deal breaker with Iran (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Netanyahu on Capitol Hill: Israeli PM calls for deal breaker with Iran (part 1)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Online reactions to Netanyahu's speech to Congress

Read more

WEB NEWS

Egyptians mock IS group online

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Record losses at French nuclear firm Areva

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Obama needs to provide real answers to Netanyahu's arguments'

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Mozambique: Top constitutional lawyer killed in Maputo

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Hollande: 'We have to tear voters away from the National Front'

Read more

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 8.40 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

2015-02-25 Pakistan

Pakistani Taliban set their sights on police

The Pakistani Taliban are targeting police in Karachi. Over 140 officers were killed last year, most of them victims of targeted assassinations.

Read more

2015-02-20 West Bank

Building in the West Bank

In the West Bank, Jewish settlements continue to expand. Some are authorised by the Israeli government, some not, but all are considered illegal by the international community...

Read more

2015-02-12 Tunisia

Tunisians flock to join the jihad

As Tunisia moves slowly forward on the path to democracy, the country is proportionally one of the biggest exporters of jihadist fighters. Over the past three years thousands of...

Read more

2015-02-05 India

India: the myth of 'Love Jihad'

In India, where religious tensions and violence are on the rise, Hindu extremists are accusing Muslims of practising “Love Jihad”. India’s Muslims deny these accusations and...

Read more

2015-01-16 Charlie Hebdo

Paris attacks: Who were the terrorists?

For three days, they spread fear and horror across France, killing 17 people before being shot dead by police. Their rampage began with an attack on satirical weekly Charlie...

Read more