Thursday, May 12, 2011

1100 females raped every day in Congo

Over 1100 women and girls are raped every day in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, indicating that the level of sexual violence is 26 times higher than previous estimates, according to a new study.
The study, published on Tuesday in The American Journal of Public Health, said that more than 400,000 women and girls, aged between 15 and 49, were raped in the war-torn Central African country during a 12-month period in 2006 and 2007, AFP reported.
The United Nations had earlier reported that 15,000 women were raped in the same period.
Amber Peterman, the lead author of the study, said, “Our results confirm that previous estimates of rape and sexual violence are severe underestimates of the true prevalence of sexual violence occurring in the DRC.”
“Even these new, much higher figures still represent a conservative estimate of the true prevalence of sexual violence because of chronic underreporting due to stigma, shame, perceived impunity, and exclusion of younger and older age groups as well as men,” she added.
Human Rights Watch reported that sexual violence in 2009 doubled in comparison with 2008.
“If this assessment is accurate, then the current prevalence of sexual violence is likely to be even higher than our estimates suggest,” Peterman noted.
The study did not collect data on sexual violence among girls younger than 15 years old or women older than 49 and it did not include sexual violence among boys and men.
“Although the burden of sexual violence among these groups is uncertain, a review of the records of 4133 women attending Panzi Hospital in Sud Kivu showed that six percent were younger than 16 years and 10 percent were older than 65 years,” the study said.
The eastern Congo has experienced interminable cycles of violence since 1998.
The war in the Congo has dragged on for over a decade and left over 5.4 million people dead.
siasat.com
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