February 13, 2013
L13: Pro Paper A
Rape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
In the eastern part of The Democratic Republic of Congo, tens of thousands of women and young girls are being raped by extreme brutality by all sides in the conflict, civilians, militiamen, armed groups, foreign-armed groups and members of the Lords Resistance Army(LRA). In most cases, many men rape women at the same time, what is know as ‘gang rape’. Not only are the women raped, but also their vaginas are mutilated with guns and sticks. In many cases, the women are raped in front of their children, their husbands, families and neighbors. This shows that rape is being used as a weapon of war to punish or dehumanize the women themselves, or to persecute the community to which they belong. According to the United Nations, in the province of the Congo local health centers report that an average of 40 women are raped daily, as a rule of thumb in such situations says the UN, for every rape that is reported, as many as 10 or 20 cases might be unreported. 14,200 women and young girls were registered as being raped between 2005 and 2007 in the Congo. Complete statistics of the scale of rape in the Congo do not exist. According to December 2007 United Nations figures, around 350 rape cases were reported every month. Behind these alarming figures are individual women whose dignity, autonomy and health are constantly under threat (Walter Astrada). The consequences of rape are devastating; survivors regularly suffer from emotional disorders and mental health problems for the rest of their lives. They also have extensive damage to their reproductive system including miscarriages, infertility, difficult pregnancies, pain in their fallopian tubes, and, fistulas, causing leaking of urine and faces (HELP for the Congo, Austin Banks). Rape also increases their risk of contagion with HIV/AIDS, not to mention those who meet their death. Likewise, there is such stigma...