In Congo, 48 Women Raped Every Hour

New survey finds numbers even worse than thought

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted May 11, 2011 2:11 PM CDT

(Newser) – Reports of mass rape as a weapon of war have been common in Congo for years, but a new survey shows the problem to be far worse than thought. An estimated 1,152 women are raped every day, or 48 per hour, according to a study to appear in the American Journal of Public Health. That's 26 times higher than a previous UN estimate. "The numbers are astounding," says a Johns Hopkins expert.

In one particularly war-ravaged part of the country, 67 out of every 1,000 women have been raped at least once. By comparison, the annual rate in the US is 0.5 per 1,000. "The message is important and clear: Rape in (Congo) has metastasized amid a climate of impunity, and has emerged as one of the great human crises of our time," says the director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.

A Congolese woman waits outside a military tribunal prior to the sentencing of 11 soldiers accused of rape in the town of Baraka in February.
A Congolese woman waits outside a military tribunal prior to the sentencing of 11 soldiers accused of rape in the town of Baraka in February.   (AP Photo/Pete Muller)
A mass rape victim comforts her son in the town of Fizi, Congo, in February.
A mass rape victim comforts her son in the town of Fizi, Congo, in February.   (AP Photo/Pete Muller)
Sido Bizinungu smokes a cigarette after being convicted of rape and crimes against humanity in the town of Baraka, Congo, Feb. 21, 2011.
Sido Bizinungu smokes a cigarette after being convicted of rape and crimes against humanity in the town of Baraka, Congo, Feb. 21, 2011.   (AP Photo/Pete Muller)
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