Sexual violence against women in the Congo.

Is deplorably high. I am so disturbed by this story. In fact it makes me wish they didn’t even write it, but then we would never know.

Sexual atrocities in Congo’s volatile province of South Kivu extend “far beyond rape” and include sexual slavery, forced incest and cannibalism, a U.N. human rights expert said Monday.
Yakin Erturk called the situation in South Kivu the worst she has ever seen in four years as the global body’s special investigator for violence against women. Sexual violence throughout Congo is “rampant,” she said, blaming rebel groups, the armed forces and national police.
“These acts amount to war crimes and, in some cases, crimes against humanity,” said Erturk, who just came back from an 11-day mission there.

I will stop there. You can read the rest here, but be warned. It is disturbing.
Which presidential candidate will address this and actually work towards something, anything, that will help this situation?
I am not feeling hopeful.

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8 Comments

  1. Heroine of the Story
    Posted August 1, 2007 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    This is beyond sick. I don’t know how any presidential candidate could ignore this. Of course, however, we must remember that these are mostly candidates indebted to the corporations, who wouldn’t give a damn about the women anyway. The only way to change things is to build a grassroots revolution. Which we need desperately.

  2. penguinlady
    Posted August 1, 2007 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    This has been ongoing for years. If you want to help these women, this organization directly helps, and has a program for the women with fistulas caused by repeated forcible rape.
    http://www.healafrica.org/

  3. tankerton
    Posted August 1, 2007 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the info Penguinlady.
    I first started reading articles about the situation in the Congo a few years ago. It does seem like such articles are becoming more widespread. Not too long ago, National Geographic profiled the violence in the country and the terrible effects of the war and govt. policies on the people and economy. They have also done other profiles on the some of the animals and habitats which have been endangered by the vioence. Sadly, the tragic situation doesn’t seem to have improved in the slightest over the past few years. It seems like hell on Earth and I feel so terribly for the people caught up in the turmoil. The levels and types of violence there are just incomprehensible.

  4. Seamus Begonia Smell
    Posted August 1, 2007 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    This is the type of thing that makes me think naughty thoughts, like that humanity has evolved past its need for the Y gene. War, which leads to heightened misogynist oppression and violence against women, is irrefutable evidence that the Y has run its course IMHO.
    I think all war should be reframed as a form of class oppression: the oppression of women. That’s what it always ends up being in addition to the universal, indiscriminate human atrocities. Perhaps reframing these two issues as related but notably separate would get more people involved as anti-war activists.

  5. Mina
    Posted August 1, 2007 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    “This is the type of thing that makes me think naughty thoughts, like that humanity has evolved past its need for the Y gene. War, which leads to heightened misogynist oppression and violence against women, is irrefutable evidence that the Y has run its course IMHO.”
    Don’t some militaries have women in them…?

  6. katie
    Posted August 1, 2007 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    Africa is a mess and always will be. They can’t sort out their own problems, and the rest of the world doesnt care enough to help. dont see this ending any time soon however disgusting it may be.

  7. Posted August 2, 2007 at 1:17 am | Permalink

    Here was a CNN article detailing Congo President Joseph Kabila’s reaction to accounts of brutal rape and sexual atrocity perpetuated by the Congolese military. It’s a year old–unfortunately, this has been problem for some time. The lede:

    Confronted with atrocious accounts of rape committed by members of the Congo military, Congolese President Joseph Kabila at first was silent — then found his voice, saying “It’s shocking.”

    Perhaps Kabila was just playing to the media (though how many leaders would even sit down for such an interview with CNN?). Or perhaps I’m simply projecting my hopes that the Congo will finally emerge from one of the most blood-soaked histories the planet has ever seen. But I think he comes off very well in the article.
    I really do think that Kabila is the guy to help lead his country into a brighter future. He was only 29 when he came to power (his dad, Laurent, who overthrew the US-backed dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, was assassinated in 2001), and he inherited a country which has an incredible stock of natural resources but has been mired in a never-ending civil and regional war. Since then, he’s helped get at least some foreign troops out of his country, tried to integrate the various rebel forces into the army, and, most importantly, led the country to its first fully free democratic elections in 2006 (which he won).
    Unfortunately, the army is only precariously under his control–since it is made up of a variety of former rebel branches, aggressively moving against them could reignite the civil war. I really don’t know what his best move is in this situation. But I do believe that he may be the best hope for the country, and that he is not glossing over the atrocities being committed there.

  8. Ephemeral
    Posted August 2, 2007 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    This is not a new issue and over the years has been the subject of numerous papers, discussions etc.. The reasons behind the conflict are numerous, but the primary factor and the fuel that sustains the fighting and atrocities are Congo’s natural resources. One of the most valuable being coltran (I believe they have about 80% of the worlds supply). Coltran is used in semi-conductors and micro-chips and allows for, among many things, the cheap electronics people us in their day-to-day lives such as cell phones.
    I would recommend you watch blood diamond except picture things being worse and not limited to just diamonds. Sadly I suspect the same arguments that have been made about blood diamonds can be made about many of the items we use in daily life.

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