Fighting the Silence

Sexual Violence against women in Congo

“Fighting the Silence” tells the story of ordinary Congolese women and men that are struggling to change their society, a society that prefers to blame victims rather than prosecute rapists. Rape survivors and their families speak out openly about the suffering they endured because their culture considers women second class citizens and rape a taboo. They give voice to thousands of other survivors and their families who have chosen to hide their grief and remain silent for fear of being rejected by their families and community and once they love.

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release date: october 2007

running time: 53 min

Scenario & Directing:
Ilse van Velzen, Femke van Velzen
Director of Photography:
Bram van Spengen
Femke van Velzen
Paul de heer
Music & Sound design:
Jeroen Goeijers
Field producer:
Kim Brice

Kingdom of the Netherlands, ICCO, Oxfam Novib, Cordaid, United Broadcast Facilities, Mensen met een Missie, Stichting Democratie en Media.



Girls and women survivors tell of the brutality they experienced. Married couples openly talk about the pain they endure. Husbands talk of the pressures that led them to abandon their wives and why they agreed to take them back. A father explains why he has given up on his daughter’s future and how he wishes he could afford to take her rapist to court. Soldiers and policemen share their shocking views about why rape continues to flourish despite the war having officially ended.