This is what misogyny looks like

Dr. Denis Mukwege

Last week, a doctor who has dedicated his practice to helping rape survivors heal was attacked. His family was held hostage, he was threatened at gun point, and his security guard died. Why didn’t you hear about it? Because it happened in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Lauren Wolfe reports at The Atlantic:

No money or property was taken and the car was left behind, calling into question robbery as a motive. Whether this was a kidnapping or assassination attempt, no one is quite sure, but what we do know is that the attack occurred within a couple blocks of the headquarters of MONUSCO, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo — the largest current peacekeeping force in the world, with more than 20,000 troops. We know that DRC is at the mercy of multiple armed groups, including the notorious M23, FDLR, and Mai Mai militias, which are known for their inhuman mutilations of women’s bodies.

We also know that Mukwege is the world’s best-known doctor treating women who have been raped in that country’s 16 years of conflict. He has treated more than 40,000 women as medical director and founder of the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, eastern DRC, he told me recently. He has operated on more than 15,000 women whose bodies have been ripped apart by sexualized violence, he said. Mukwege is “the epicenter of resistance,” said Stephen Lewis, founder of the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which works to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa, and a supporter of Panzi Hospital.

“He is the person who stands as the anchor for survival,” Lewis said. “You lose him and you lose yet another dimension of the struggle.”

You can – and should – read the whole thing here. This is what misogyny looks like: you don’t just hurt women. You hurt any person, regardless of their gender, who tries to help women. Even if that means threatening the life of a man who stitches up little girls who have been raped.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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  • Gwen Storch

    wow. i actually just cried reading this. This man is amazing, I mean just godsent. I don’t even have the words for how overwhelmed with happiness and thankfulness for what he does and horror over what was done to him. the world we live in is terrifying, and its even worse where he is. what he does is so noble and incredible. if i had the chance to thank him in person, i could never ever say enough.

  • Megan

    The first thing that came to mind after reading the article was “why”. I mean, it wasn’t as if the man was doing anything wrong. He was simply treating women who’ve been violated. Surely no one could actually hate him for *that*. And then I thought about it and realized that for some people, his simple act of helping women recover from [sexual] violence was enough. (And how depressing is that?)

    I certainly hope Mr. Mukwege establishes proper security measures for himself and his family and resumes the amazing work he’s been doing all these years. The fact that he was attacked at all demonstrates how threatened others felt by his work, and I’d like to think it was because positive results were really beginning to show.