Gang Rape Epidemic Cripples Congo

New study shows growing problem

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 15, 2010 1:36 PM CDT

(Newser) – The Democratic Republic of Congo is in the midst of a horrific and deepening gang rape crisis, according to a new report commissioned by Oxfam. Of the roughly 4,000 rape victims researchers interviewed, 60% said they’d been attacked by groups of armed men. The sheer number of such sexual attacks is increasing too, thanks to the ongoing civil war in the country; both government and rebel forces use rape as a weapon against civilians, the BBC reports.

For a closer look at the conflict's horrors check out this letter sent from Congolese activist Annie Rashidi-Mulumba to the Daily Beast. In it, she recounts the experiences of two members of her group who were captured by the rebels, and the torture, rape and murder they witnessed. She also recounts the story of a pregnant woman who was burned alive, raped and then finally killed, adding “this kind of story is so common.”

An unidentified woman who is a victim of gang-rape and who had cut off her own thumb as a result of the severe mental trauma is seen at a hospital in Goma, Congo, Monday, Nov. 26, 2007.
An unidentified woman who is a victim of gang-rape and who had cut off her own thumb as a result of the severe mental trauma is seen at a hospital in Goma, Congo, Monday, Nov. 26, 2007.   (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
In this undated image supplied by Doctors Without Borders a rape victim is photographed at a clinic in Western Kasai, Congo.
In this undated image supplied by Doctors Without Borders a rape victim is photographed at a clinic in Western Kasai, Congo.   (AP Photo/ Doctors Without Borders,Cedric Gerbehave)
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