Since 1996, nearly 4 million people have died in the Congo as a result of an international war—more than in any other country since World War II. Various militias, and armies from Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda, have perpetrated gruesome atrocities on Congolese people and villages in an effort to claim the Congo’s land and mineral resources.
One of their weapons is systematic rape. Militia members rape women in front of their husbands and children. Afterward, the husbands or the husbands’ families drive the “contaminated” women and their children from the village. Even when the women are not forced to leave, the husbands may demand that children born from the rapes be killed; caring for these children is considered acquiescing to the assault. The children of rape who survive become pariahs. Many end up as street children in the cities—a phenomenon unknown before 1996, according to several Congolese who spoke to our delegation from Christian Peacemaker Teams.