Women’s History Month at Allegheny Features Acclaimed Filmmaker

MEADVILLE, Pa. – Feb. 22, 2011 – The Women’s Studies Program at Allegheny College is bringing acclaimed filmmaker Lisa Jackson to campus as part of its commemoration of Women’s History Month.

Jackson’s documentary “The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo” will be screened and discussed on Monday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m. in Quigley Auditorium. The film, which won the Sundance Special Jury Prize in Documentary in 2008, served as the inspiration that year for a U.N. Resolution classifying rape as a weapon of war.

Jackson will give a presentation, titled “Thoughts on a Femicide,” on Tuesday, March 1, at 7 p.m. in Quigley Auditorium.

Filmed in the war zones of the Democratic Republic of Congo over several months in 2006 and 2007, “The Greatest Silence” breaks the silence that has surrounded the tens of thousands of women and girls who have been kidnapped, raped, sexually enslaved and tortured in that country’s civil war.

The film travels to hospitals, shelters and remote villages to find rape survivors. The filmmaker, herself a survivor of gang rape, shares her experience with the women she meets and they in turn recount their own stories. Activists, peacekeepers, priests and physicians give their perspectives on the fate of Congo’s women, and in several segments the filmmaker confronts Congolese soldiers who are unabashed, even boastful, about the rapes they have committed.

“The Greatest Silence” is a search for the brave survivors of sexual violence who pay witness to their own experience and break their silence, providing a piercing perspective on the horror, struggle and ultimate grace of their lives.

Both the screening and Jackson’s lecture are free and open to the public.