Congo Rape Crisis Report


DRC, meeting for rape victims who have been successfully reintegrated into their communities.A new report published online by the American Journal of Public Health has concluded that 48 women are raped every hour in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Report, entitled “Estimates and Determinants of Sexual Violence Against Women in the Democratic Republic of Congo” found that 400,000 females aged between 15 – 49 years old were raped during a twelve month period between 2006 an 2007. The rate is significantly higher than previous estimates by the United Nations.

The report by Amber Peterman, Tia Palermo and Caryn Bredenkamp aims to provide data-based estimates of sexual violence and to describe risk factors. It suggests that the problem has spread beyond the war-torn regions of the eastern DRC, where it has long been a dominant feature of the conflict, into Congo’s civilian society, showing that previous figures were “severe underestimates” of the true prevalence of sexual violence. The report’s authors believe that the scale of the problem is probably even worse than their data suggests because of “chronic underreporting,” combined with the fact that the report does not include younger and older age groups or men.

“Not only is sexual violence more generalised than previously thought,” they say, “but our findings suggest that future policies and programs should focus on abuse within families and eliminate the acceptance of and impunity surrounding sexual violence nationwide while also maintaining and enhancing efforts to stop militias from perpetrating rape.”

A spokesman for the Democratic Republic of Congo claimed that the figures showing an increase in the number of rapes were the result of better reporting rather than rising violence.

 

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