A lot of people in the West consider it too complicated, and it's not complicated. It's a resource war. It's a holocaust in slow motion.
Why do you think the world seems so oblivious to these tragedies that have happened, and are continuing?
It's hard for me to understand why the world seems so consistently oblivious to this conflict. A lot of people in the West consider it too complicated, and it's not complicated. It's a resource war. It's a holocaust in slow motion because it has been going on for so many years. It's a well known fact in the humanitarian community that an estimated five million people have died in the last ten years in this conflict, which means it's more than ten Darfurs.
Why it continues to remain so hidden and obscure, I haven't a clue. I think it's appalling and really irresponsible on the part of the media not to be covering it. And it's one of the goals I have with the film is to bring attention to these forgotten women in a forgotten war. I think there is something about sexual violence that makes people turn away. I interviewed a UN peacekeeper on this exact subject, and he admitted to great discomfort in talking about this. He acknowledged that it is something that we want to push to one side because it's a hard thing to contemplate.
In the Congo, women and girls are intentionally being targeted for several reasons, I think. First of all, rape is cheaper than bullets, and it has just unimaginable, far-ranging consequences not only for the women and girls who have been violated and traumatized, but also for the community at large.
Once a woman has been raped, most of the time, she is rejected by her family, by her husband, by her village. If she's been chucked out of her village, she becomes a displaced person in her own country. The rapes are often so violent that the women are basically destroyed physically, even after multiple surgeries.
Part of the problem is that women in Africa, women in many cultures, are devalued, they're considered property. But at the same time, they're very often the linchpin of the society. They're the ones that nurture, the ones that take care of the children; they're the ones that carry these massive loads. And without women, the society begins to break down and it can be called a femicide, what's happening in Eastern Congo. And the country is on its knees anyway, and this is only taking it further to the brink of complete disaster.