A study published in the American Journal of Public Health revealed that in the Democratic Republic of Congo, women are raped at a rate 26 times higher than the rate of 16,000 rapes yearly reported by the United Nations (UN). The national study, conducted by Amber Peterman of the International Food Policy Research Institute, Tia Palermo of Stony Brook University and Caryn Bredenkamp of the World Bank, found that approximately 400,000 women were raped between 2006 and 2007. This amounts to roughly 48 women raped per hour.
Margot Wallstrom, Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, clarified that the UN figures are conservative because the Security Council is only permitted to report cases of rape verified by the organization. Lisa Shannon, founder of Run for Congo Women and A Thousand Sisters, told The Daily Beast, “I was overwhelmed but I wasn’t shocked. We’ve known for a long time that the numbers coming out of Congo were vastly underreported.”
The Democratic Republic of Congo has been named the “rape capital of the world” by the United Nations. The United Nations has condemned the lack of civilian protection provided by Congolese police, military, and UN stabilization forces in the area. Since the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo began in 1998, millions of women have been raped.