Rape of the Congo: Understanding Sexual Violence in the Conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Citation:

Meger, Sara. 2010. “Rape of the Congo: Understanding Sexual Violence in the Conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.” Journal of Contemporary African Studies 28 (2): 119–35.

Author: Sara Meger

Abstract:

Though the occurrence of rape in the conduct of war is by no means historically new, research into its causes and functions has only really begun in the past couple of decades. War rape is a difficult phenomenon about which to generalize, considering the variances in context and actors involved. This article, however, attempts to synthesize existing literature through the analysis of a case study that can enhance our understanding of rape as a weapon of war and the contextual conditions that facilitate its use. Applying this theoretical framework to the extreme war rape occurring in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), this article offers insight into understanding the function of sexual violence in the ongoing conflict in the DRC. In particular, this article argues that the use of rape as a weapon in the Congo's bloody war must be understood in relation to both social constructs of masculinity and the politics of exploitation that have shaped much of the country's history.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, SV against women, Weapons /Arms Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Year: 2010

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