The Democratic Republic of Congo has banned a documentary about a Congolese doctor who aids rape victims, calling it a defamatory portrait of the country’s military. Thierry Michel’s The Man Who Mends Women tells the story of Dr. Denis Mukwege, a gynecologist who in 1999 opened a hospital in the DRC to treat women who were sexually assaulted during the country’s decades-long civil war. By some estimates, Mukwege’s efforts have saved over 40,000 lives; last year, he was given Europe’s Sakharov Prize, awarded to those who dedicate their lives to human rights.
The DRC has some of the highest levels of sexual violence in the world, as both militia groups and the country’s army routinely use rape as a weapon of war. It seems likely that the film’s refusal to whitewash the role the military plays in the DRC’s rape epidemic was what led to its ban. The Man Who Mends Women has been shown in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Canada but has not yet received a U.S. release.