Beyond the Hype? The Response to Sexual Violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2011 and 2014


Hilhorst, Dorothea, and Nynke Douma. 2018. “Beyond the Hype? The Response to Sexual Violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2011 and 2014.” Disasters 42 (1): 79-98.

Authors: Dorothea Hilhorst, Nynke Douma


The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has witnessed a high prevalence of sexual violence since the wars of the mid-1990s. The huge response to it commenced around the turn of the century, but turned to ‘hype’ towards 2010. The paper defines ‘hypes’ as phenomena characterised by a media frenzy, eagerness by non-governmental organisations, and pragmatic local responses. Interviews and analyses conducted in 2011 revealed misuse of services and misrepresentation at different levels. The paper goes on to review medical and legal assistance and to provide evidence of incremental improvements in the response since 2012. It has become better coordinated, with more engagement by the DRC government, more community-oriented, and has incorporated a broader notion of gender-based violence. Nonetheless, concern remains about its impact and its continued dependence on international resources. There is apprehension too about social reactions to the problems of corruption and impunity, seemingly adding to the confusion surrounding gender relations in the country.

Keywords: development hype, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), fight against impunity, Gender, sexual violence

Topics: Armed Conflict, Corruption, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Media, Governance, Justice, Impunity, NGOs, Sexual Violence Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Year: 2018

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