DR Congo rapes cause more suffering
In August 2010, more than 500 women and girls were raped in an attack in South Kivu, DR Congo.
Reports afterwards say the local UN force took no action when local Congolese community leaders warned them of the dangers and begged for protection. Mugisho Theophile reports:
Due to the great atrocities of the consecutive wars that have been succeeding one another, women and girls have always been the victims who have suffered the greatest damages of war.
They have been gang raped, mutilated, killed and otherwise inhumanely treated. Some women have contracted HIV and incurable STD's, others have unwanted pregnancies from the rapists.
In Congo, women are not trained to look after themselves; they depend on husbands who go to work and feed the whole family. When the men die their widows are left with nothing other than fields to cultivate that often do not provide enough to support their children.
Women and girls are often taken into bondage by the rebels who treat them as sex-slaves and then release them back into their villages where they are considered a shame to the community and shunned by their own families.
As a result the children go begging along the roadsides and if you are a girl you end up selling your body to pay for your daily meals.
More and more the situation becomes insecure and the rapes continue.
Blame for the rapes has been attributed to the Mai-Mai militia and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), rebels from neighbouring Rwanda.
"We heard different voices, different languages. Some were in the local language".
But although this story made the headlines worldwide it is just one of many, in a part of the world where rape and sexual violence is used as a weapon in the war for control of the mining of minerals.
The world has at last responded to the enormous need to help the women victims, With many NGO's present on the ground.
But aftercare is one thing, protection against the abuses another.
"They have failed to protect us", said one man, who watched as his daughters were raped in front of him. "We need more than this"
Write to the DRC Government:
Organizations active on the ground in DRC:
Shake up in Eastern Congo: Enough Project