During the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, 800,000 people were massacred in 100 days, and a huge number of women became victims of a sexual violence that was used like a weapon of war. Nearly 20,000 children were born as a result of these rapes, a fact that was long kept in the dark.
Award-winning photographer Jonathan Torgovnik learned about these children by chance when he visited Rwanda in 2006. He interviewed a number of the women and photographed them together with their children.
For “Disclosure: Rwandan Children Born of Rape”, Torgovnik returned to Rwanda twelve years later (the 25th anniversary of the genocide) to revisit some of the families he had met. The children have now grown up, and have been made aware of the circumstances of their birth. Using photographs and interviews with the mothers and children, Torgovnik’s powerful book considers the long-lasting effects of genocidal rape and portrays the mothers and children dealing with the difficulties and complexities of their fate.
“What I know about what happened to my mother is that she was raped during the genocide and was cut with a machete, and many of her relatives were killed. She also told me I was born as a result of the rapes she endured. it was not easy for me to accept this news… but after some time I have accepted it and it doesn’t mean anything to me now. […]
“My country Rwanda is developing very fast, and I think the future is going to be better.” — excerpts from Peter’s (son of Annet) statement
“Disclosure: Rwandan Children Born of Rape” by Jonathan Torgovnik is now available for pre-order on shashasha.