The atrocity of rape is currently being utilized as a tool of war throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which was recently named by a senior UN official as "the rape capital of the world". This increase of sexual violence against both females and males cannot be attributed solely to rebel groups. It is intricately linked to continued Rwandan government influence and military intervention in the Congo that incites violence, along with the illicit trade in conflict minerals. Thousands of innocent individuals of both sexes, including children as young as one month old, are the rape targets of rebel groups.
The conflict between rebels, citizens, and governments is rooted in the illegal trade of conflict minerals. This trade, involving the governments of both Rwanda and Uganda, has ravaged the Congo and its people of their natural resources, and continues to be fueled by the Rwandan government, despite taking its toll of human suffering. The Congolese women, girls, and boys who are caught in the middle have been victimized not only by their perpetrators, but also by government oppression, anti-government violence, and the deep-pocketed interests of international business.
These victims now face an enormous struggle. They must rebuild their shattered communities. They must strive for personal healing despite the gang rapes which undoubtedly haunt them. Women must deal with possible pregnancies and what to tell these children who grow as a result of this violence. Beyond this, the threat of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases means that many will become chronically sickened and others will die due to the unavailability of medicine and treatment. If we remain silent and impassive, we are effectively ignoring their voices and their hopes for peace and stability in the Congo.
If these victims are to have their inalienable rights resorted, the violence over conflict minerals must be deemed unjustifiable by the international community. We must take action to help achieve lasting peace.
JOIN US - HELP SHATTER THE SILENCE OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE!
Angela Rose - PAVE: Promoting Awareneness, Victim Empowerment, http://www.ShatteringTheSilence.org
Paul Rusesabagina - Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation, http://hrrfoundation.org/