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Ending Violence Against Women

Lumo reveals that the agonies of present-day Africa are deeply etched in the bodies of women. Lumo Sinai was just over 20 when marauding soldiers attacked her in eastern Congo. A fistula, a medical condition common among victims of violent rape, rendered Lumo incontinent and threatens her ability to bear children. Rejected by her fiancé and cast aside by her family, she awaits reconstructive surgery.

What steps can you take to end violence against women, and affect U.S. foreign policy as it relates to the ongoing violence in the Congo?

  • Find ways to support rape crisis services or other programs that work to end violence against women in your community.  To get involved, visit the website of NOW, the National Organization for Women.

  • Find ways to support organizations that provide medical and support services in the Congo, such as HEAL Africa, the hospital featured in the film.

  • Investigate U.S. policy on aid to the Congo and on conflict in the region. Talk with legislators to let them know what you want the United States to do. The U.S. Embassy in Belgium has a helpful primer on current U.S. policy in Africa.

  • Convene a town hall meeting to address U.S. foreign policy as it relates to the ongoing violence in the Congo and/or other African nations. Americans for Informed Democracy is an organization that provides information on how to address these issues.

  • Organize a V-Day event. V-Day is a worldwide campaign to end violence against women. Playwright Eve Ensler promotes V-Day through readings of The Vagina Monologues in hundreds of cities around the world. In 2008, V-Day will focus on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. For more information, visit

Get informed about the issues in the film and lead a discussion in your community.

Discussion Guide

Discussion Guide

P.O.V. offers discussion guides for all of our films. Please download this guide and use it to gain tips on how to develop productive conversations using Lumo.

Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan

This lesson plan is designed to be used in conjunction with the film Lumo, which takes an intimate look at the healing process of a victim of rape, a crime of political terror that is increasingly common in areas of military conflict, such as the central African country of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (the Congo). This lesson uses an excerpt of the film to put a human face on the high numbers of women who are victims of rape in these areas. Students will learn more about this worldwide problem and write letters to government leaders suggesting how the United States could show greater leadership in addressing sexual violence in war. The film is in Swahili, French and English with English subtitles. Note: The content of this documentary includes discussion of a brutal war, disturbing verbal descriptions of violent rape, and examples of the physical and emotional destruction of such attacks. There are also images of dead bodies seen from a distance. It is strongly recommended that the film be reviewed for content before use in a classroom setting.

Reading List

Delve Deeper

This multimedia resource list, compiled by Martha Perry of the Princeton Public Library in partnership with the American Library Association, provides a range of perspectives on the issues raised by Lumo.

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Spending some time with Lumo, we began to look up to her — not because of the magnitude of her disaster, but because of the warm and mischievous spirit she retained despite that experience.”

— The Filmmakers

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