Friday, October 18, 2013

A Repairer of Bodies and Souls

Denis Mukwege is quite a figure. He’s a gynecologist in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In addition to performing surgery and repairing victims of rape used as weapons of war in Congo, Dr. Mukwege is an outspoken proponent of human rights and dignity. He is helping and empowering thousands of survivors of sexual violence, while condemning the government of his country and the international community for doing nothing to end the mass rapes and crimes committed by armed groups in the DRC. He himself survived an assassination attempt in 2012, which has not deterred his efforts.

Dr. Mukwege established Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, a city in eastern DRC. There he treats the women and children raped by rebel forces.

In a recent interview by Elizabeth Blackney that appeared in the Huffington Post, Dr. Mukwege described what he does:

“There are four pillars to our approach. First, we provide the necessary medical treatments. Second, we must show [the survivors and patients that] it is possible to recover physically and mentally.  We now have psychologists and social services, to help them adjust. The third pillar, we focus on reintegration. We help them understand their economic capacity, help them develop new skills so they feel strong enough to return to their communities, earn an income, and take care of their children. Finally, we now have a team of lawyers to help create a file for every victim. We must stand for justice. … Most of these women, after treatment, they become leaders in their own community. They are the ones who will save Congo. What they have faced is not just rape. It is a problem for all humanity.”

Go to Dr. Mukwege’s Facebook page to learn more and to follow what he’s doing.

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