DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: All sides use rape as a weapon of war, Part II

CPTnet
2 December 2005

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: All sides use rape as a weapon of war, Part II

She had just give birth to a stillborn child, when the Interahamwe attacked
the village (The Interahamwe were the Hutu militia members responsible for
carrying out the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Many of them fled into Congo
after the Tutsi military took control of Rwanda afterwards.) Her husband
fled but she was too weak to move. As the cadaver of her child laid beside
her, at least five Interhamwe men gang-raped her before she fell
unconscious. She has had five operations on her sexual organs, but she will
never be able to have children. Her husband moved to another village and
remarried.

When the husband is in the home and the armed group arrives, the armed group
tells the husband, "We are going to rape your wife. Do you consent? If you
do not consent, we will kill you." After the armed group rapes a woman in
front of her husband and children, the husband often kicks her out of the
house. He cannot bear to look at his shamed wife and he is constantly
replaying the rape in his mind. He is afraid that she has contracted HIV or
other sexually transmitted diseases. (HIV infects 20-25% of raped women in
the DRC.) Even if he is willing to stay married to her, often his extended
family demands that she and her children leave the home.

Armed men rape women in revenge for women being raped by rival armed men.
The Rwandan government uses the money it receives from the U.S. to fund the
Congolese Rally for Democracy army (RCD) which rampages the Eastern Congo.
The U.S. also funds Kabila, the president of Congo and his Congolese army
which fights against the RCD. The Interahamwe, a Hutu armed group from
Rwanda, now scattered throughoutthe provinces of North and South Kivu, sells
the mineral resources from the Congo through Rwanda to the rest of the
world. Rape is a weapon of this war.

Since 2003, there have been at least 9,000 rapes documented in Goma and the
surrounding area--at least nine women raped per day. The actual number of
raped women is probably much higher. The U.S. funds this war.

In a meeting in Uvira, Mama Fayida, a woman's rights activist and evangelist
for the Assemblies of God, stood up and said, "If you don't tell America to
stop this war, the blood of Congolese will be on the head of America."