World Politics Review: Crime against Humanity: Congo’s Rape Crisis, Part Two

14.10.10

Categorie: Africa, Axe in Congo, Congo, Training, World Politics Review |
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A member of aid group COOPI advocates for victims of sexual violence in Dungu, Congo. September 22, 2010

A member of aid group COOPI advocates for victims of sexual violence in Dungu, Congo. David Axe photo.

by DAVID AXE

Editor’s note: This article is the second in a two-part series. Part one focused on assistance to rape victims and educational efforts for everyday Congolese. Part two looks at efforts to reform the groups responsible for rape in Congo.

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo — A team of U.S. Army medical personnel arrived in this crowded capital city the first week of September. For two weeks, the Americans trained alongside 300 members of the Congolese army. The goal of the exercise? “To increase interoperability with Congolese forces … and give them the opportunity to learn from us,” Lt. Col. Todd Johnston told World Politics Review.

There were two reasons behind the exercise’s timing: the U.S. and other countries’ growing reliance on Congo for rare minerals, including cobalt and tantalum, and the increasing fragility of the Congolese state.

Congo, population 65 million, had its first democratic election in 2006 and in the intervening years has made little progress in returning home 3 million internal refugees, alleviating poverty, improving life-expectancy or resolving conflict in the country’s restive east.

Congo’s problems intersect in a worsening epidemic of sexual violence. No fewer than 15,000 women are raped every year. Many thousands more never report it. More than half the rapes are perpetrated by Congolese soldiers, most of the rest by rebels who face little army resistance. Displaced women, lacking the protection of longtime neighbors, are most vulnerable.

The army’s culture of rape has crept into broader society. Rape by civilians jumped 17-fold since 2004, according to Oxfam. In Congo, the group warned, widespread sexual violence threatens the “reversal of a society’s norms.”

Read the rest at World Politics Review.

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One Response to “World Politics Review: Crime against Humanity: Congo’s Rape Crisis, Part Two”

  1. Luke Easter says:

    Congo

    If only America the great protector could be so bold,
    Ah! But, there’s no diamonds, no oil, aka black gold,
    So why are we still in Afghanistan? How come Iraq?
    Is not being gang raped 10 at a time a serious attack?

    And yet it would be hard to help those away from home,
    While in military academies we cannot protect our own,
    The case for innocence, Jamie Leigh Jones & all the rest,
    In uniform, LaVena Johnson, Amy Tirador, Morganne McBeth.

    Brutal mass rapes in D.R. Congo occur on a daily basis,
    We shudder to think of tears mixed in with bloody faces,
    Surely after you have been repeatedly beaten by throngs,
    It’s death or you accept defeat & painfully suffer wrong.

    Sometimes 100 helpless women are kidnapped in one night,
    As it is impossible with a gun in your face to put up a fight,
    Democratic Republic of Congo is a woman’s worst nightmare,
    However, if America won’t get justice here how will they there?

    And these aren’t rumors of unrest because the reports are factual,
    Any entity ready, willing & able to assist Amnesty International?
    Some say it is their government’s fault, after all they are corrupt,
    Villages of old men, women & children yes they’re sitting ducks.

    Okay, billions are pledged to save the failing economy of Greece,
    High tech weapons for good guys are stolen from Mexican Police,
    Nothing more than armed street thugs, this army of the Congolese,
    Waiting on our help what’s the saying about hell beginning to freeze?

    Where there is no monetary reward how little we value others lives,
    More coverage in America about Saudi women not allowed to drive,
    Make an effort to check, http://www.atma-foundation.org as it’s a sure bet,
    Until something valuable is found in the Congo, our country will forget.

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