New Documentary Investigates Sexual Violence in War-Ravaged DRC

10 September 2009
Author: UNFPA

NORTH KIVU, DRC — In the eastern corner of the Democratic Republic of Congo, has been described as one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman. According to the latest report by the United Nations Secretary General, over the last decade at least 200,000 cases of sexual violence have been recorded, but because of gross under- reporting, the true numbers are assumed to be much higher.

This week, the BBC is broadcasting ‘Grace Under Fire’, which follows leading women's health advocate Dr. Grace Kodindo on a fact-finding mission through North Kivu, where she investigates reproductive health in the war-ravaged region. She meets women who have suffered from the brutal sexual violence that has plagued the area and speaks to them about what they experienced and how they managed pregnancy and childbirth under such trying conditions.

“Where to even begin ending the suffering?” asks Grace in the film after visiting clinics and meeting health care providers, and those they serve, across the region. “By far the biggest casualties of this conflict are civilians – not the fighters. And the women and children suffer the most. Their need is the greatest. Reproductive healthcare must be seen as a frontline priority – not something to think about only after the fighting is over.”

"Grace Under Fire" was produced by tv/e, the Television Trust for the Environment, with support from UNFPA as part of their ‘Life’ series. The organization works with partners worldwide to make films that inspire change and cover the most important stories on the planet: from climate change, to the role of women, from conflict to culture, health to human rights.

Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Population : 86.7 mil
Fertility rate
Maternal Mortality Ratio
Contraceptives prevalence rate
Population aged 10-24

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