Report on sexual violence in the DRC


I’m coming late to this but just finished reading an April 2010 report on the problem of rape in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The report is supported by Oxfam and is written by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. You can read the 66 page report or quick overview by clicking here.

What they document (between years of ’04 and ’08) is a retrospective study of 4,311 rape victims at post-rape interview at Panzi Hospital in South Kivu area (well-known for their pelvic surgeries to repair fistulae caused by rape). The results indicate that while war-related rape may be decreasing, there is an over 1700% increase in civilian rape. Evidence of a culture change as a result of a war?

Very difficult read. Most victims were gang raped at night, in their homes, in front of their families. Necessary for those who want to understand the experiences of these women. Most of the efforts to help are about either (a) surgical repair or (b) economic recovery. This makes total sense since these are the top two issues victims face (often victims are abandoned by their families or lost their families during the rapes). But what to do about psychological trauma? What works for these women who do not have the time nor the money to go to therapy?

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Filed under Abuse, Congo, counseling science, suffering

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