Some months ago, we told you about the Second Congo War, which was one of the worst humanitarian disasters since the Second World War. Despite the war being officially over since 2003, the Democratic Republic of Congo (RDC) remains a country devastated by conflict, where rebel groups keep fighting, and the population suffers daily.
This is particularly true in the Eastern regions of RDC, and specially in the province of the South Kivu. Indeed, that area sees confrontations between maï-maï combatants, Hutu rebels, M23 fighters, rwandan and congolese soldiers. And they all practice the same terrible crime: violating women and children. Rape has become a weapon of choice in the DRC conflict. When the different factions attack villages, they do not only steal goods or destroy houses: they rape women and small children, as a way of terrorizing the population, and keeping it under control. They kidnap and hold them in camps, where they are sex slaves, and when they don’t want them anymore, either they kill them or they let them go, mutilated for life. Age does not count: from babies, to 70 year-old women, all are a target, and their stories are petrifying.
This form of violence is going to leave a permanent scar in the Congolese society. Families often reject their daughters, wives and sisters, after they have been raped, and many women are crippled and traumatized from a very early age, never being able to bear children again. Violations can kill or leave permanent scars, just as any other weapon.
Despite the calls of local actors for international help, it is not a simple situation to tackle. However, in years to come, there will be a need to build an international criminal court to judge these crimes against humanity. At some point, the international community will have to wake up to help bringing justice to the thousands of women that were objectified and disgraced by the conflict in this country.