Monday, September 3, 2012

57. God Sleeps in Rwanda (2005)

Rape and the Rwandan genocide 

God Sleeps in Rwanda is a short documentary film on the aftermath of the genocide.  Following the genocide women make up seventy percent of the population resulting in  an incredible burden and unprecedented opportunity for women.  Many girls have become the head of a household and Rwanda has changed legislation to grant women inheritance rights and other rights.Women have also become leaders in developing the country in terms of health and trade. 
Through interviews with survivors, the documentary tells the stories of five different women in the aftermath of genocide.  It highlights that women were raped by militia and of the hardships faced by women today.  At least 250,000 women and girls are estimated to have been raped during the genocide with many women contracting HIV. 
One of the stories focuses on a police woman, who has contracted HIV from her husband, cannot afford to buy anti retro-viral drugs for herself or her children.  The documentary is therefore a reminder that beyond providing peace and security, international organisations and national governments must work harder to provide medical care and health services following mass atrocity. The death toll of the genocide continues to rise because of HIV infection and the government have now ordered every pregnant woman to be tested for HIV. 

The documentary highlights the responsibility of Pauline Nyiramasuhuko and her son, for the instigation for the rape, torture and murder of women and girls.  Although the subject matter of the film is the Rwandan genocide, the film shows the strength and perseverance of the women interviewed and their new roles in the country. 

The film was nominated for an Academy Award.   Directed by Kimberlee Acquaro and Stacy Sherman, the film was made by 'Women Make Movies' a company started 30 years ago to address to under representation and misrepresentation of women in the media.  WMM have made a number of movies and have themed collections including a 'HUMAN RIGHTS: International Collection'.  Movies in this category include Africa Rising, After the Rape, Mrs. Goundo's Daughter, The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo and God Sleeps in Rwanda. 

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