From Nobel laureate, world-renowned doctor, and noted human rights activist Dr. Denis Mukwege comes an inspiring clarion call-to-action to confront the scourge of sexual violence and better learn from women's resilience, strength, and power.
At the heart of Dr. Mukwege’s message will be the voices of the many women he has worked with over the years. Dr. Mukwege will use individual cases to reassure all survivors that, even if their psychological wounds may never fully heal, they can recover and thrive with the right care and support.
Dr. Mukwege’s dramatic personal story is interwoven throughout as he explores the bigger issues that have become a focus of his advocacy. He will seek to explain why sexual violence is so often overlooked during war, and how governments need to recognize and compensate victims. He will also stress the importance of breaking down the taboos surrounding assault, and the necessity of building a system that supports women who come forward.
His words advocate for saying ‘no’ to indifference and he asks readers to reckon with the West’s involvement in perpetuating sexual violence in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo, and to confront the abuse taking place in their own communities.
Sexual violence does not occur in a vacuum. The conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has raged for over 20 years and has claimed an estimated 5 million lives, is inseparable from Western patriarchy and economic colonization. And this cycle of violence and spoils is not limited to Congo. Dr. Mukwege’s work has led him to South Korea, Latin America, the Middle East, and elsewhere in Africa, where he has found striking similarities in women’s testimonies.
The truth is, through the intricate ties of the global economy, we are all implicated in violence against women – whether it occurs amidst the fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo or on college campuses in the West. And Dr. Mukwege’s writing will address men as well, encouraging and guiding them to become allies in the fight against sexual abuse, in war and in peace.
Building more inclusive, gender-balanced societies will require developing what he calls “positive masculinity” – a systemic change in male behavior and attitudes towards women. Dr. Mukwege hopes to inspire other men to speak out and join the struggle, rather than leaving women to fight the battle alone. He will also make the case, drawing from his experience and a wealth of research on the topic, that when women are involved as economic and political decision makers, all of society benefits.
The Power of Women will illuminate the enduring strength of women in the face of violence and trauma, and give hope for the potential of individuals to turn the tide.
About the Author
Dr. Denis Mukwege was born in the Belgian Congo in 1955. As a child and young man, he was a first-hand witness to racial prejudices, as well as to the economic and moral decay of the Democratic Republic of Congo under dictatorship. Now a world renowned gynecological surgeon, he is recognized as the world’s leading expert on treating rape injuries, and his holistic approach to healing has inspired other initiatives around the world. In 2014, he was invited to the White House by Barack Obama. In Europe, he was awarded the prestigious Sakharov human rights prize award, earning him major public recognition for the first time. In 2018, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with Yazidi human rights activist and sexual violence survivor Nadia Murad.
"The book we all need to be paying attention to now. The voices of women in Eastern Congo reverberate throughout Dr. Mukwege's moving account of the causes and consequences of sexual violence. Weaving together their stories with accounts from across the world, he calls on us all to emulate the strength of women for the sake of the world."
— Emma Watson, actor and activist
“There are real heroes out there. There’s Denis Mukwege.”
— Michaela Coel, creator of I May Destroy You and author of Misfits
"Dr. Mukwege is a beacon calling men everywhere to a new consciousness. He risked and continues to risk his life to break ranks with a patriarchal culture that licenses violence towards all women. He is an ally, a brother, a visionary of the heart, a healer and a true friend to women across the world."
— V (formerly Eve Ensler), award-winning playwright and bestselling author of The Vagina Monologues and The Apology