Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rape - weapon and cultural disease?

If you can take it, read in The Guardian how women in Eastern Congo have "been raped in terrible ways, whose reproductive organs had been wrecked, who were suffering from fistulas between the vagina and rectum inflicted not just by gang rape but also by attacks with sticks, guns, bottles" - crimes which are hardly motivated by random acts of lecherousness (or whatever) by the perpetrators but which must have deeper explanations.

A weapon against the resilience of local communities

"If you destroy women, you destroy the Congo. Raping women is the cheapest and most effective way to instil fear in and humiliate a community. It doesn't even cost a bullet."
- Author and activist Eve Ensler"

"This will be the destruction of the Congolese people. If you destroy enough wombs, there will be no children. So then you come right in and take the minerals."
- Dr Denis Mukwege

A symptom of a wrecked society

"Because I'm already dead."
- rapist explaining to his victim why he raped

"Centuries of colonialism, slavery and exploitation by the west have come together and are now being delivered on the bodies of the Congolese, most dramatically on the bodies of women."
- Author and activist Eve Ensler"

That was essentially two explanations: first, it's an effective weapon against the resilience of local communities to outside forces, second, symptom of a wrecked, traumatized society.

Source: The Guardian / City of Joy: New hope for Congo's brutalised women.

In an attempt to curb violence, September 2010 mining was formally banned in the eastern provinces (BBC / DR Congo bans mining in eastern provinces). Others have been systematically reviewing rape reports and interviewing both victims and offender, noting many rapists "were victims of the conflict and had their mothers killed" and that the typical incident is a group rape of a woman in her rural home (The Simmons Voice / Researcher searches for ways to prevent rape in the Congo). In Washington, USA a play about the situation is running until June (Jenny Jules on a mission for Congolese women in 'Ruined'). The UN is currently assisting the trial of General Jerôme Kakwavu for two rapes (UN provides logistical support for rape trial of army general).

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