IPI HomeEventsSpeakers EventsMukwege: "A Vicious Cycle of Rape, Silence, and Impunity"

 

print print  |  share share back back

Speaker Events - Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mukwege: "A Vicious Cycle of Rape, Silence, and Impunity"

Addressing a large gathering at IPI, Dr. Denis Mukwege, the renowned founder of a hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that treats victims of sexual violence, spoke feelingly of the thousands of young women who, having been raped, are condemned to lives of being shunned by their families and seeing their rapists move about freely in society, unrepentant and unpunished.

Noting that they often retreat into silence, he said, “We need to remember that since the victim doesn’t have the capacity to be able to explain that she needs to feel supported, we can’t understand these silences, so we don’t treat them and there’s a vicious cycle of rape, silence and impunity.”

Dr. Mukwege, Director of the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, was joined at the June 29th event by Margot Wallström, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, who said that while new laws and monitoring mechanisms had been put into place to curb such violence and address impunity, “it is only as good as its implementation, and we have a long way to go.”

“Even in the DRC, they have ambitious legislation, they have a tolérance zéro, they have a national plan, they have anti-rape legislation and all of that. But then the capacity, the training, the monitors, everything is missing in the capacity to follow up. And until recently they haven’t had any prisons even to put the perpetrators in so there are a lot of gaps or holes in this net if we want to do something about impunity.”

The event was co-sponsored by IPI, the Belgian Mission to the United Nations, and the King Baudouin Foundation, which recently gave its annual International Development Prize to Dr. Mukwege.

It was moderated by Warren Hoge, IPI Vice President for External Relations.

 Read transcript

Listen to Global Observatory interview with Margot Wallström >>

The Global Observatory

As UN Troops Withdraw from Syrian Golan Heights, Stakes Increase for Israel and Lebanon
The recent capture of the Quneitra crossing by Syrian militant forces is of great symbolic importance and reminds us that the Syrian civil war is nowhere close to an end.

Key Global Events to Watch in September
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.

2014 Top 10 Issues to Watch in Peace & Security: The Global Arena
A list of ten key issues to watch that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2014, compiled by IPI's Francesco Mancini.

The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.

Recent Events

September 10, 2014
Lessons from the Past, Visions for the Future: The Middle East After 1914
On September 10-11, 2014, the International Peace Institute launched its inaugural meeting at its Middle East Regional Office in Manama, Bahrain titled “Lessons from the Past, Visions for the Future: The Middle East After 1914.”

September 09, 2014
Threats and Opportunities for Energy Sector in West Africa
West African development depends on energy, and that energy depends on stability—this was one of the sentiments repeated during a September 9th expert roundtable held in Paris on the theme of energy and security in West Africa.

September 09, 2014
Preventing Mass Atrocities: Why We Fail, and What Can be Done About It
In the twenty years since the Rwandan genocide, the United Nations system has developed a considerable body of policies, principles, and practices dedicated to the goal of preventing future atrocities.

View More