Hundreds of thousands of women have been sexually assaulted in the ongoing war in eastern Congo, but suddenly, the region is seeing a sharp increase in rapes of men. More than 10% of the victims of sexual violence in the region are male, and victims are often ostracized by their own families and communities. "The people in my village say: ‘You’re no longer a man,'" one victim tells the New York Times. "'Those men in the bush made you their wife.'"
Aid groups surmise that the sudden surge in men raping men is a tactic, by both the Congolese army and the rebels, to humiliate and control the local population. It comes amid surging violence in the region, where brutal revenge attacks—including toddlers thrown into flames—have driven 500,000 from their homes, despite the recent capture of a rebel general. "From a humanitarian and human rights perspective, the joint operations are disastrous," said a Human Rights Watch official.