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May-11-2011 12:10printcomments

Congolese Women 134 times More Likely to be Raped than American Women

Sexual violence occurred in all provinces.

Congo rape victim

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - A new study shows that women in the Democratic Republic of Congo are being raped at a rate 26 times higher than previously thought.

The shockingly high number is equivalent to 1,152 women raped every day, 48 raped every hour, or four women raped every five minutes.

More than 400,000 women ages 15 to 49 were raped across all provinces in the DR Congo during a 12-month period in 2006 and 2007.

The new study in the American Journal of Public Health, “Estimates and Determinants of Sexual Violence Against Women in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” represents the first-ever estimates of sexual violence in DRC based on rigorous examination of government-collected and nationally representative data.

Previous estimates  used police and health center reports as well as United Nations findings, last year they reported only 15,000 women raped during the same time frame.

“The study creates another compelling argument that sexual violence in the DRC is not only a grievous mass violation of human rights but is a security threat to the entire DRC,” said Michael VanRooyen, MD, MPH, Director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. “While there are certainly limitations to the use of these data, the message is important and clear: Rape in the DRC has metastasized amid a climate of impunity, and has emerged as one of the great human crises of our time.”

Sexual violence occurred in all provinces, while the number of women raped at least once in the eastern conflict area of North Kivu—67 per 1,000—is more than double the national average of 29 per 1,000.

This means a woman in certain parts of the Congo are 134 times more likely to be raped than a woman in the United States, whose annual rape rate is 0.5 per 1,000 women.

Image from the Christian Science Monitor

Rates of rape in other provinces show that Congo’s sexual violence pandemic is not limited to armed-conflict zones. In fact, the outlier Equateur province showed rates higher than the conflict-affected South Kivu and Orientale provinces - 65 in Equateur to 44 and 38 respectively. This is a new and highly significant finding.

“Previously, Congo’s sexual violence has been framed as women and children caught between two armed groups in eastern Congo,” said Lisa Shannon, founder of the human rights advocacy group A Thousand Sisters.

“But these numbers show us that conflict in the east has produced a rape pandemic of astronomical proportions, but that that pandemic is not contained. We now know high levels of sexual violence exist even in non-conflict areas.”

“Our results confirm that previous estimates of rape and sexual violence are severe underestimates of the true prevalence of sexual violence occurring in the DRC,” said lead study author Amber Peterman, PhD. “Moreover, even these new, much higher figures still represent a conservative estimate of the true prevalence of sexual violence because of chronic underreporting due to stigma, shame, perceived impunity, and exclusion of younger and older age groups as well as men.”

Source: A Thousand Sisters

Alysha Atma spends many hours working on projects that support and benefit the beleaguered people of African nations who spend way too much time off the western media's radar. This writer explains that she is a culmination of all her experiences, most importantly knowledge she says, and all that she still needs to learn; lessons of love, laughter and the extraordinary giving of both young and old. She says she has the enormous fortune of learning from the best; every person around her, and the amazing strength and fortitude of those she has never met but will always strive to listen to. "I continue to work and write because I believe in the power of community and the power of one, both contradictory to each other and yet can move together in a very powerful way. I feel a responsibility to use my place, freedoms and connections here in the US to stand up and yell for those who need my voice and actions. I have seen such strength in my fellow humans that I cannot even begin to comprehend, they have traveled distances, have gone without food, water, shelter and safety for days and weeks at a time. I have a responsibility as a fellow human to put our common humanity before anything else. Everyone deserves to look towards tomorrow, to dream of a safe future and to have a peaceful present." You can write to Alysha Atma at:

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Chibenze November 25, 2011 3:55 am (Pacific time)

I know that what the muslims are doing is very bad,i always pray for them,because they so allah we grant them paradise,which is a big lie,satan so decieve them,that they did nt even know that they are worshiping him,if you are a muslim my advice for you is to thing twice,search for the truth and the through God will help you,there are many muslims who have known the truth,they are now christain,e.g past president of Nigeria com.ibrahim babangeda(IBB)who was a muslim before and now his a christain,have you ever wonder what made him to do that? It was because he has found the truth,how can a god promise his people earthly things,sexualy pleasure and a man having thousands of wife,think my frnd,them what abt a woman that die in fighting jihad,will it be thousands of husband for the woman,imaging a god who treaten his followers,who told mohamed frankly that he should realize and say to his followers that he too was not sure if even himself could reach the paradise of wine and the sensual heaven he was preaching about(surah 46:9)allah knows the truth,he knows he will go to hell,that is why he what humans to follow him,thats why he confuse them say that the christain God nd the muslim god is dsame,hw can dsame God command his followers to kill themself if is dsame God(sura 47:4),dat means they should kill there enemies,but the True God of the christains,command to love ur enemies,bless those who cause u,there a many things i need to tell you,but i can nt write them all,u cn reach me tru my email( want u to knw the truth,Jesus died for our sins,acept him and u wil have eternal life through him.bye i love all muslim,i always pray for you

Sigismond June 11, 2011 1:37 am (Pacific time)

"Rape in the DRC has metastasized amid a climate of impunity." Circumcision too!!!

Anonymous May 11, 2011 6:51 pm (Pacific time)

As she lay on the ground after being shot and then slashed with a machete, Dune James Rike looked into her husband’s tear-filled eyes and asked, “Is this the end between us, so we shall not be together again?” Pastor James Musa Rike told Compass he held the hands of his dying, 35-year-old wife and told her, “Hold on to your faith in Jesus, and we shall meet and never part again.” Muslim extremists who attacked Kurum village, in the Bogoro local government area of Nigeria’s Bauchi state, had already killed two of the couple’s children in a rampage that began Wednesday (May 4) at midnight. Rike, pastor of a Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) congregation in Kurum, next heard the cries of his 13-year-old daughter, Sum James Rike, a few yards away. “I rushed to my daughter, only to discover that she too was cut with a machete on her stomach, and her intestines were all around her,” he said. “I held her hand and began to pray, knowing she too was about to die. She told me that the Muslim militants told her they would kill her and “see how your Jesus will save you.” The girl told her father that she responded by telling them that Jesus had already saved her, and that by killing her they would only be making it possible for her to be with Him. Pastor Rike prayed for her as she died. Shooting and setting homes on fire, the Muslim extremists killed 12 other Christians in the attack. Bauchi police reported 16 people dead – one man, three women and 12 children. (Excerpt) Read more at ...

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