Rape as a Weapon

ak47-soldiersWarning: this is not going to be a sexy post.

I heard a story on rape being used as a weapon of warfare in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRP) and thought it was both interesting and terrifying.  Apparently, the rate of rape is a staggering 50 women per hour.  The net result is 12% of the women in the Congo have been raped at least once.  Clearly, this is systematic and being used as a weapon of warfare. And it’s not just the Congo. It’s being actively used in Zimbabwe, Syria, and Burma.

If any guys are reading this are finding themselves slightly aroused, consider this: they are raping men as well. The rate of male rape is unknown and certainly under-reported as men are extremely resistant to reporting rapes because it lowers the status of their entire family and they are seen as possible spies for the enemy. This last part makes little sense to me…as I would think that a man who had been held captive and repeatedly raped would be highly motivated to slaughter the perpetrators.

Women too are shamed by the rapes and fear telling their husbands as a typical response is to declare her unfaithful and throw her out of the house. Even highly publicized rapes of political candidates wives in Zimbabwe  — where rape has been used as a political weapon — it is extremely rare for the man to stand by and support his wife: they instead opt for divorcing her.

black-soldiers-africaWorse, women who attempt to participate in political processes are specifically targeted for rape.  Apparently being raped is very bad for votes too — nobody wants to vote for a rape victim and she will not get elected.

So I’d like to name the Congo as the worst place on Earth to be a woman. Another terrifying fact: 3% of the female population was raped in 2007. In some places like the Eastern province of North Kivu that rate hits a staggering 7%.   That’s 7% of the women there being raped in a single year. This country now hosts 1.8M female rape victims and more, uncounted male victims too.  This is profoundly uncool. And it speaks to the magnitude of the problem — and the culture of rape.

Considering the shame, lowering of status and potential for divorce as a consequence of admitting to being raped…it’s likely the actual numbers are considerably higher. The sexuality of an entire generation if being mutilated.

I know people get extremely upset over the use of


Thousands? Millions. Military action now.

‘unfair’ weapons such as landmines and chemical weapons…but has any government ever been held accountable for using rape as a tactic of war?  We have troops in Afghanistan doing God knows what…but for fuck sakes! We should send some peacekeeping troops into these ravaged areas to aggressively crack down on any military or militia group using rape a weapon.  It’s time we treated large-scale rape as aggressively and respond to it with same intolerance that we have for chemical/biological weapons. The scale is far to great for this to be treated as some ‘2nd class crime’ — rape is being used as a weapon of war and we need to send troops to stop it.

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