Documentary initiative advocates for victims of sexual violence | WBEZ
Skip to main content


Documentary initiative advocates for victims of sexual violence

Survivors of sexual violence in Nya-Ghezi who have been been assisted by AFEM, a women’s empowerment organization in South Kivu that conducts outreach and education through radio programs. (Photo by Galya Ruffer)

The Voices and Faces Project is a documentary initiative created to advocate for survivors of sexual violence. One recent effort took documentary photographer Patricia Evans and founder/director Anne Ream to Mexico, where they interviewed the Women of Atenco. These women were the victims of rape and torture at the hands of Mexican police and their story became a profile case with Amnesty International. The Mexican government came under intense scrutiny for what Ream describes as their failure to hold police accountable. Condemnation also came from the U.S. Congress, the United Nations and the international human rights community.

Ream says that "the willingness of the Women of Atenco to speak truth to power and perpetrators is inspiring, humbling and a reminder of how a small community of women can indeed challenge and change the world."

We were also excited to learn that Voices and Faces plans to visit Afghanistan and Tanzania to interview survivors of sexual violence and exploitation in those desperate regions.

On Worldview Thursday, Ream updates us on her project. We also hear from Galya Ruffer, founding director of Northwestern University’s Center for Forced Migration Studies. Ruffer has been working on sexual violence in the Congo for the past two years. The center is sponsoring an event Thursday, 5/24, 7pm at Northwestern University's Annie May Swift Hall called "The Importance of Bearing Witness: Testimony, Justice and the Global Fight to End Sexual Violence." The event stems from a book Ruffer is writing on the topic. Ream and Leslie Thomas of Art Works Projects are invited speakers.

Get the WBEZ App

Download the best live and on-demand public radio experience. Find out more.