- Rwanda Since the 1994 Genocide
Rwanda Since the 1994 Genocide


“The Greatest Silence” response

By gabriela on February 9, 2013

This film was by far the most heart-breaking thing I have ever seen since I became a PCON student. And this comes from someone who has done a thesis on sexual violence in war and other research papers on the theme of rape. I have read many reports with personal accounts of rape victims that described intimate, absolutely gruesome details of what was done to them. However, this was the first time that I could put faces to these horrendous stories and that just made me bawl throughout the film.

Similar to Emily, I noticed how many victims atributted the Interhamwe as the main perpetrator of rape. Lisa Jackson, the director, even mentions at some point how rapists were hutus who fled from Rwanda, something incorrect as we’ve learned in class. They seemed to equalize the Interhamwe to a Hutu militia. But then again, that was not the main focus of the movie, so I don’t see that as a decisive factor in my opinion on the film.

Furthermore, I also did not have the same perception of Jackson that Dagan had. Maybe the filmmaker said something in the beggining of the film that slipped my mind, but in no way I think she went to the DRC to “empower” the women. Her sole purpose there was to document the womens’ stories, to let them be heard by someone else besides the members of their self-help groups. Handing out nail polish will obviously not change these women’s lives and Jackson, as a rape survivor herself, knows that. I just see it as a nice gesture of a person in an unknown country trying to make connections with people she does not share a language with, so I see no reason to criticize her for that. There is nothing wrong with giving out small gifts as a sign of appreciation. I do not see how me bringing little Brazilian tokens like chocolates and earrings to American friends is any different.

The most shocking and surprising part to me was how Jackson managed to interview some of the rebel fighters. The questions she asked however, left me unsatisfied. I wish she could have dug deeper into how they do what they do. I felt like the men just became these impossible-to-comprehend monsters, evil forces that no one who is ‘normal’ will ever understand.

1 Comment

  • ST said:

    Wonderful post! Thoughtful and evocative. I think you are on to something in critiquing Jackson’s portrayal if the rapists as monsters who act without thinking. An important thing to think about as you begin to prepare your IRB assignment. Not only are the types of questions you ask important, so too is how you ask them.

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