Gender & SGBVNews

Sexual Violence Against Women On The Rise In DR Congo

Most recent figures available just published by the Joint United Nations Bureau on Human Rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo indicate that in spite of the international attention on sexual violence in the Democratice Republic of Congo, the incidence of rape against women continues to be on the rise.

The report indicates that as recently as June 17, 2020, in Blukwa, Djugu territory in Ituri Province, 18 women were threatened with death, beating and rape by 60 assailants who invaded their farms.

Before the assailants arrived, the women escaped and hid in bushes when they learnt of their presence. The assailants, however, caught  them when they came out from hiding to return to their villages, tortured and raped before being allowed to go home, the report said.

According to the May 2020 report of the Joint United Nations Bureau on Human Rights, there was a marked increase in the number of rapes in the DR Congo in the month compared to April, 2020. In total, 79 women were raped in May compared to 53 in April in Ituri, North Kivu Province, alone.

Most of the perpetrators of the crime are combatants of armed groups operating in the area as well as soldiers of the DR Congo army. These military people were responsible for 63 of the rapes in May and 47 in April, the report said.

Majority of the rape incidents by armed groups were perpetrated by assailants in Djugu, who committed 32 rapes and Raia Mutomboki who committed 14 rapes, according to the UN report.

Rapes blamed on state agents and military personnel were committed on 16 women in May, a figure which was more than double that of April which stood at six victims. Soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo committed 14 rapes of the total, the report further explained.

Most of the provinces not affected by the conflict in the DR Congo, such as Equator, Upper Katanga, Upper Lomami, Lomami, Kinshasa, Central Kongo, Kwango and Kwilu do not feature in the investigation that led to the report.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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