Rape of Men Used as Weapon of War in Congo

Cases of rape against men are skyrocketing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where rape against women has been increasingly frequently as a weapon of war in recent years. The American Bar Association reported that in addition to being used as a weapon of war by militias, assailants also include police officers and members of the national army. In June, ABA’s sexual violence clinic in Goma reported that 10 percent of its cases involved male survivors.

Three communities in North and South Kivu, where sexual violence is particularly acute, reported rape against men in January, including eight recent cases of male rape in one community, according to Xinhua News. Militia members consider sexual violence a tactic to humiliate and dehumanize the Congolese people. According to the New York Times, one victim said, “I’m laughed at. The people in my village say: ‘You’re no longer a man. Those people in the bush made you their wife.'”

Though most men refuse to report instances of rape because of social stigma associated with homosexual acts, serious assaults resulting in continuous bleeding and castration have been reported, according to the Edge.

Since the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo began in 1998, tens of thousands of women and girls have been raped. Thousands of Congolese women marched in Kinshasa late last year to protest rape as a weapon of war. According to the Daily Nation, humanitarian groups have estimated that between 400 to over 1,000 rapes occurred in the eastern part of the country alone during just the first three months of this year.


American Bar Association 5/09; Xinhua News 7/14/09; The Edge 8/5/09; The New York Times 8/4/09; Feminist Daily Newswire 6/24/09; Daily Nation 6/23/09

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