Mass Rape of Women in Congo
The Congo was a Belgian colony. But after freedom life is insecure and women get raped in herds.
Congo and Rapes
Recently I attended seminar in Mumbai on empowerment of women. One of the speakers caught my attention as she mentioned that talking of empowerment was silly, as in the Republic of Congo rape is a by word and women are subjected to rape at the drop of a pebble. She mentioned that rapes in the Indian capital of Delhi or Harlem in USA paled into insignificance at the monstrous number of rapes committed in the Congo.
The Congo was a colony of Belgium, till reluctantly the Belgians granted independence. But the Congo was soon engulfed in civil wars and law and order just collapsed. The worst effect was on women who became the playthings of the opposing armies.
Over the years the situation has worsened and a recent evaluation by the United Nations has brought out the startling figures of women raped. The figures dished out make sorry reading and shows that between 2006-07 nearly 400,000 women were raped. In addition at present the estimates given out show that Congolese women get raped at the rate of 48 an hour.
These figures must be taken with a pinch of salt as they are on the lower side and the UN researchers have only touched on reported cases. What about the unreported cases? There is every chance that in case these are added the rape ratio will double.
Congo has a population of more than 70 million as per the latest estimates. Much of the area is forest and thick jungle and armed bands move about with impunity. For them rape is a means not only of sexual gratification but also a method to terrorize the local population.
American scientists attached to the United Nations have concluded that on an average 29 out of 1000 women in the Congo have been subjected to rape. Far in excess of anything in the USA.
Why do men rape? That is a question that can't be answered now, but we can highlight the plight of the women in the Congo. Thus my African speaker was correct when she said that empowerment of women means nothing till the menace of rape is lifted in the Congo. That looks unlikely at the moment.