Congo: A War against Women

by Project Censored
Published: Last Updated on

Recently, a study was conducted about rape in the Democratic republic of Congo (DRC). It has been widely documented about the rapes occurring in DRC, especially in conflict areas with nearly one woman a minute subjected to some form of sexual abuse. However, the study conducted suggests that sexual abuse goes farther than just conflict areas, but also within the home as well. The study found that 1,152 women are being raped every day – a rate equal to 48 per hours. This rate is 26 times more than the previous estimate given by the United Nations of 16,000 rapes a year. The study conducted included a nationwide survey of 3,436 Congolese women ages ranging from 15-49.

A breakdown of the figure shows 12% of women had been raped at least once in their life. 22% of the women have been forced to have sex or perform sexual acts by their partner against their will. The UN has said the Congo uses rape as a weapon of war. There have been many reports and witness accounts of gang-rape amongst young women as well as elderly women by militia. Anthony Gambino, a former director for the US agency for International Development in Congo says the rate of rapes is much higher than seen anywhere in the world, and it is not only in Eastern Congo but Western and Northern as well. Many think it is due to years of economic and political decline.

With an estimated 1.8 million of the 70 million populations have been raped, many are calling this a war against women. Margot Wallstrom, UN special representative says “The number of reported victims is just the tip of the iceberg of actual incidents.” And many would agree that the rates are rising and it must be stopped.

Title: Forty-Eight Women Raped Every Hour in Congo, Study Finds
Author: Jo Adetunji
Source: Common Dreams, May 12, 20111
Student Researcher: Kaitlyn Vargas