Beyond Rape in the Congo

I read this story two weeks – an horrific account of the most hideous rapes by women survivors in the DRC. It’s a rewind of what took place in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Congo rape testimonies

“They forced my son to have sex with me, and when he’d finished they killed him. Then they raped me in front of my husband and then they killed him too. Then they took away my three daughters.” She hasn’t heard of the three girls, 13, 14 and 17, since. A small woman, she speaks softly and without visible emotion, but as she describes being left naked while her house burned, she raises a hand to cover her face.

“I was on my way to market with some of the other women when I stopped off to pee,” one woman told Chishugi. “I was carrying wood and I was taken by the rebels. Five of them raped me. I still have pain in my legs because they were so violent. Afterwards they said, ‘You must not walk alone any more.’ I have two children born from the rebels.”

Violence is like a vampire – it feeds off blood and drugs to the point where all sense of reality, humanity, feeling disappears. It becomes like a drug additional whereby the actors are blind to their actions feeding only off the violence like starving vultures. But we must hear these stories because there are a hell of a lot of people who need to be held to account. The rapists as vile as they are do not act in a vacuum – and those who are not instantly visible in these atrocities must also be called out.

They came out of the forest. Men with guns appearing barely human to the frail, ageing woman who months later recounted her ordeal, bent double after surgery to save her womb.

“They didn’t look like men. Their skin was covered in cuts. Their clothes were completely torn. They became someone else, not humans,” she said at a hospital in the often fought-over town of Rutshuru in eastern Congo.

But the woman still recognised the men who descended on her village as members of the Mai Mai ethnic militia. Their preference for wearing animal skins and amulets, popular for their supposed magical powers of protection, distinguished them from the government soldiers, foreign rebels and other armed gangs who have also contributed to the wholesale rape of hundreds of thousands of women and girls over more than a decade of conflict.

It took months for the 58-year-old woman from Kindu to reach Rutshuru hospital for treatment and to tell her story. The Mai Mai shot her husband when he didn’t have any money to hand over. When her children screamed they shot them too. Then the woman was raped by five men. One of her attackers nearly destroyed her womb by thrusting his gun into it. She fled her village. As she travelled to Rutshuru she was raped again, this time by Rwandan Hutu extremists who fled to Congo after leading the genocide in their own country………………....Continued

Yesterday I was listening to a phone in on Zimbabwe – listening to a misguided so called Pan Africanist apologist for Mugabe muttering about white rule, land rights and western imperialism – all true but no, Mugabe you are not excused!