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Women Left for Dead--and the Man Who's Saving Them

Wed, 08/01/2007

The following is a piece Eve wrote for the September issue of Glamour magazine: "Women left for dead--and the man who's saving them"

I have just returned from hell. I am trying for the life of me to figure out how to communicate what I have seen and heard in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. How do I convey these stories of atrocities without your shutting down, quickly turning the page or feeling too disturbed?

How do I tell you of girls as young as nine raped by gangs of soldiers, of women whose insides were blown apart by rifle blasts and whose bodies now leak uncontrollable streams of urine and feces?

This journey was a departure for me. It began with a man, Dr. Denis Mukwege, and a conversation we had in New York City in December 2006, when he came to speak about his work helping women at Panzi Hospital in Bukavu. It began with my rusty French and his limited English. It began with the quiet anguish in his bloodshot eyes, eyes that seemed to me to be bleeding from the horrors he’d witnessed.

Click Here to Join V-DAY and UNICEF in Calling for an End to Rape and Sexual Torture against Women and Girls in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

-->Something happened in this conversation that compelled me to go halfway around the world to visit the doctor, this holy man who was sewing up women as fast as the mad militiamen could rip them apart.

I am going to tell the stories of the patients he saves so that the faceless, generic, raped women of war become Alfonsine and Nadine—women with names and memories and dreams. I am going to ask you to stay with me, to open your hearts, to be as outraged and nauseated as I felt sitting in Panzi Hospital in faraway Bukavu.

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