Saturday, October 17, 2009
Raped in the Congo
Rape has turned into a weapon of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with the number of attacks on women having grown threefold over the past few years, human rights activists have said. Anneke van Woudenberg, senior researcher with Human Rights Watch, said that 200,000 women and girls have been raped in Eastern Congo since 1998, and the condition of women has become more dire as the Congolese army has pressed a military campaign against armed groups in the countryside. "Rape is being used as a weapon of war in eastern Congo. So we notice and we have documented that when armed groups walk into town, they will rape the women and girls, sometimes publicly, sometimes privately, in order to punish the local population," she said. "It's the easiest way to terrorize a community."