- Rwanda Since the 1994 Genocide
Rwanda Since the 1994 Genocide


The Greatest Silence film response

By dagan on February 5, 2013

This movie was not just about breaking the silence of the women in the DRC who have often been neglected and shamed by their communities. This was also – if not more so – the story about Lisa Jackson (writer/director/producer/editor/interviewer/camerawoman/want to take all the credit kind of person) trying to break the silence of her own personal story as a victim of rape. I want to be clear – I am not dismissing Jackson’s own history, nor am I belittling it. That is something no one should ever have to go through, and for that I sympathize. However, as a viewer of the film, I was highly disturbed by what appeared to be Jackson making a movie solely so that she could relate to the women in the Congo and share her experience (who seemed to suffer far worse than Jackson herself), and being naive (in some sense) in trying to believe that the women of the DRC would magically get better and feel more at peace by playing with nail polish and soaps. Rather than empowering the women, it seemed the Jackson was just in the DRC to allow herself to come to terms with her own past. Rather than exposing the horrors of the war, she always managed to bring it back to herself. Moreover, she seemed to be oblivious to the dangers of the Congo, going into areas of conflict without much awareness of the dangers present. It would have been much more effective – in my opinion – if Jackson had shared more stories of others, or made this a movie solely about the women in the DRC. Adding her own personal account/reason for being there is fine for the viewer to understand why she is motivated by this issue – but her constant reference back was ineffective and rude.

All that being said, this was one of the most disturbing films I have ever watched – not just for Lisa Jackson’s poor shooting quality, her selfishness, and her inconsiderateness, but also (on a more serious note) for exposing the horrific stories of women who had undergone unimaginable violence against them. I almost vomited when it was stated that age range of victims was between 2 and 80 years old. That is sickening. And seeing the 4 year old who had been raped was just plain upsetting.

One of the interviewees in the film (a male) said that he would treat women normally if there was no war to be fought. I found this particularly intriguing, because by having such a vast majority of rebel fighters raping women in the Congo, the men are making rape the norm, and love/affection the abnormal. The fighters did not “need” to rape – that does not seem like it is getting them any closer to winning the war. Instead, it seems like this is only pushing the conflict into a deeper hole than it already is. What need is there to rape people who are so helpless and young like the 4 year old?


1 Comment

  • ST said:

    Good points. Any thoughts on the ethics of Jackson’s interview questions, style, choice of translator, using women’s experience without adequate emotional or physical protection, etc, etc. She seems unaware of the power of her “whiteness”….

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