Rape Used as Weapon in DR Congo
Rape as a weapon of war has been used for thousands of years. The famous painting The Rape of the Sabine Women commemorates a battle fought thousands of years ago. It is still a weapon of war today. The conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is victimizing women at a horrific rate.
Rossette Kavira, a gynaecologist at a hospital in the town of Goma, said: "There isn’t a single day that we don't get raped women coming to the hospital. This explains how widespread the problem is.
"Almost all victims require surgery due to bleeding or wounds inflicted through torture by their attackers."
Due to the huge numbers of rape victims, some women have to wait for months for reconstructive surgery.
Some of the victims are now HIV positive as well as badly injured, and must cope with few resources and less hope that they can live normal lives.
There is no one group being blamed for using rape as a weapon of war. The result is that no women are safe in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and that women in that country are not only victimized by their enemies, if they live through rape and torture they are often rejected by their own communities.
Rape has been used by all armed groups as a weapon that is more readily available than bullets and bombs.
"In many cases the social stigma associated with rape leaves the survivors shunned by husbands, parents and their communities," he said.