Online proceedings for the IRCT General Assembly and 10th International Scientific Symposium - Delivering on the Promise of the Right to Rehabilitation

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Time: 12:10 to 12:30 Download Presentation

Mai-mai militia and sexual violence in Democratic Republic of the Congo

Presenter(s) and co-author(s): Mr. Kitwe Mulunda Guy ( SAVE CONGO - Congo )

Background

This study sets the reasons for the brutal violence against women in the DRC. It focuses on the militia motivations and their attitudes toward sexual violence, including holistic support for survivors of rape. According to most sources, 5.5 million people have died since the beginning of the war in the DRC in 1994, and rape is used as a weapon of destruction. The sexual violence is so severe that some have described rape in the country as the worst in the world. Sexual violence has long lasting consequences on individual survivors, their families, and their communities.

Methodology

A total of 1,021 medical records collected by Save Congo were reviewed and analyzed thorough periodic reviews of data captured. Experts from Save Congo produced the clients' stories that were made public respecting concerns about consent and confidentiality and a data set on patterns of rape and perpetrators emerged. During the examination and client treatment, medical examinations were conducted in private and safe environment under the guidance of medical doctors. Client reports were written up following the examination with clients consent.

This report includes the name of the client and other relevant factors such as the client's story as given during the interview, including alleged methods of sexual violence and torture, the time when rape is alleged to have occurred, all complaints of physical and psychological symptoms, all physical and psychological findings in the clinical examination and medical and psychological treatment. The report is then recorded including all the annexes and kept confidential and safe at the Centre in a computer protected by a password, in stick memories and CDs. In addition, fifty Mai-Mai combatants were interviewed in three rural towns. The interviews were conducted in a private location. The interviewees ranged in age from 18 to 45 years old.

Results

Majority of attacks occurred in individual homes (56.5%), in fields (18.4%) and the forest (14.3%). In total, 58.9% of all attacks occurred at night. Of the four primary types of sexual violence, gang rape predominated (59.3%) and rape Not Otherwise Specified was also common (21.5%). Sexual slavery was described by 4.9% of the survivors and a combination of gang rape and sexual slavery was described by 11.7%. The mean number of assailants per attack was 2.5 with a range of one to > 15. There were several demographic predictors for sexual slavery. Controlling for age, education level and occupation, a marital status of ``single'' increased risk of sexual slavery (OR=2.97, 95% CI=1.12-7.85). There are some simple, practical measures that could help prevent rape from occurring in the first place including interventions that adopt a long term approach which emphasize gender equality and mitigates negative impacts on women, men and children.

Funding & No Conflicts Declaration

No conflicts to declare.

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