Systematic Rape and the Marginalization of Women in the DRC

Essay by cuetUniversity, Bachelor'sA, June 2005

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Their infants will be dashed to pieces

Before their eyes;

Their houses will be plundered,

And their wives ravished. (Isaiah 13:16)

In a country as decadent as ours we think far too much about what we want as opposed to what we need. Whether one believes our government is corrupt or not in our country we walk freely without the constant threat of violence looming over us, we send our children to school at virtually no cost, and we go to the doctor for the simplest aches and pains; would we still go if we had to walk 200 miles to get there?

Five years of fighting over cultural, economic, social and political issues the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a nation suffering in poverty, disease, violence, and death; the government almost as corrupt as the rebels themselves. A nation with no law and order, complete anarchy; over three million deaths, more than two million internally displaced people, and appalling levels of poverty and disease; the DRC has become the "wars of the poor"(Codou 19).

Those who suffer most in wars are women and children, this war is no exception. In fact UN spokesperson Christiane Berthiaume states that "Never before have we found as many victims of rape in conflict situations as we are discovering now," (p.4). Rebel and militia soldiers are using systematic rape and torture as a weapon of war to secure mineral rich land; their targets are women and girls of all ages and all tribes; no one is safe, and no one is spared. In the DRC, the use of systematic rape as a weapon of war leaves Congolese women perpetually marginalized; emotionally and physically scarred; and economically ruined.

The torture and rape by roving groups of soldiers robs females of their body and mind,