This NY Times story is one that I suspect will be too graphic and too large for many people to grasp.
Eastern Congo is going through another one of its convulsions of violence, and this time it seems that women are being systematically attacked on a scale never before seen here. According to the United Nations, 27,000 sexual assaults were reported in 2006 in South Kivu Province alone, and that may be just a fraction of the total number across the country.
A key element in many of the attacks is the intention to destroy their victim's reproductive organs. This doesn't seem to me like a matter of random roughness, but a deliberate strategy.
With these numbers this in no way should be viewed as just a women's issue anymore than it would be just a men's issue if boys and men were systematically mutilated so they couldn't father children. Unfortunately, many times people view the rape of girls and woman as something natural during conflict. Desire, run amok. But rape isn't natural. To say that it is natural is to remove the responsibility from those who approve of rape as a strategy and to remove the responsibility from those who participate in rape.
We cannot afford to make any excuses for rape. Not the location or actions of victims. Not sexual desire. Not war.
Labels: Violence Against Women