DR Congo: 2,600 victims of sexual violence treated by doctors

Doctors without Borders says it has treated 2,600 victims of sexual violence in just one town since May last year.

The town is Kananga in Democractic Republic of Congo - a country where rape continues to be used as a weapon of war.

The town is in the central province of Kasai which is one of the poorest provinces in the DR Congo and in the summer of 2016, a violent ethnic conflict erupted there.

The report details some shocking stories, including a woman raped next to her husband's dead body, a five-year old child raped by a soldier and a man forced to rape his neighbour.

Of those treated by the humanitarian organisation, more than 150 were under the age of 15 and at least 20 were under the age of five.

Some 80% of victims say they were attacked by armed men.

Human rights violations in the region are perpetrated by defence and security forces and various militias such as Kamuina Nsapu and Banu Mura, according to the UN,.

One of the major problems is that victims often seek help long after they have suffered sexual violence, yet prompt care is essential to ensure protection against infections such as HIV.

And beyond the medical and psychological impact of rape, victims are also often ostracised by their own communities. As a result, the very social fabric of the region is affected by the consequences of sexual violence.


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