When you first step into the eastern Congo you will find yourself surrounded by exotic beauty with beautiful flora and fauna all around you and all this is just the cover because the reality of this extraordinary place is not even remotely as beautiful as the surroundings. The reality is appalling and scarring. The Democratic Republic of Congo is known as the rape capital of the world. There have been numerous incidents of rape, torture and even murder of the women in there. The women there are treated worse than animals. This violence has been happening in Congo for a long time but has dramatically increased since the 1990s. And it not just ends at rape, women are subject to much worse than that. There is rampant rape, trafficking of women, prostitution, domestic violence and much more. In a recent report there was a story about the atrocities the soldiers of Congo commit on the their own women. Their own commandment gives them orders to rape the women in the nearby villages. The soldiers themselves say that raping these women makes them feel free. They say that it makes them feel powerful and gives them a lot of pleasure. Also it helps them to overcome their frustration. Not just the women even little girls are raped, rape now has become a common thing. And these women can’t even hide because the soldiers drag them out of their own homes.
One such incident took place on 22 November last year thousands of exhausted soldiers came back into town. They were injured and angry as they had lost the battle.The soldiers were embarrassed, angry, upset and out of control; their commanders had disappeared and the battalion and regiment structures had disintegrated.
They were drunk and violent and sad because of the battle they had lost and on top of that they felt embarrassed as well. They were at a low point and so when the reached Minova, things got out of hand and the soldiers who are supposed to protect the people became the bad guys. They became the perpetrators of their own people. For two days they raped and looted and in some cases even murdered the women in the area. Hundreds of women were raped. And this is just the official record because many women did not even report the crimes committed against them for the fear of being rejected by their family. So it is impossible to accurately state the number of cases because the women don’t come forward for the fear of being rejected in their own community. The soldiers who are supposed to protect them and keep them safe were the ones who tortured them, raped them and treated them just as objects to show dominance and obtain pleasure.
Violence against women takes place almost everywhere but it is so bad in Congo that it is now considered the worst and most dangerous place for women in the world. Minova is a market town in South Kivu, on the border with North Kivu, the region with the highest concentration of sexual abuse in the DRC. In this town there were almost 130 rape victims all raped and tortured. Most the victims were around the age of 18-20 but the youngest reported victim was 11 years old. The women were hunted throughout the town and dragged from their homes, in front of their family and beaten up and raped by many soldiers, after which they would torture the women and in some cases even kill her children and husband. And if some women raise their voice against this treatment and help out the other victims, she is subject to even worse situations.
The mass rape in Minova was not an isolated instance. Research from the American Journal of Public Health says that in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), 1,152 women are raped every day, or 48 women every hour. Statistics show that a startling total of 12 per cent of the female population of the DRC have been raped at least once.
The United Nations has been working for this cause for a very long time, trying to protect women and also setting us camps to help the victims. Also not just this but they are also trying to get justice for the women who were treated so brutally by the soldiers. Their mission in congo is known as MONUSCO ( United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR congo ). Not just the UN but a lot of people from all over the world are trying to help these women.
One such story is of a woman named Masika, she was one of the victims to the torture of the men there. She was first raped by her teacher at a young age of 15 and later by the soldiers, who not just raped her but also killed her husband and children. It was after this that she decided to set up a camp to help the other women. She has become the target for the rapists because of the work she does. But this does not stop her, she wants to help the women in any way possible.