"Breaking the cycle of impunity"

Over the years of armed conflict in DRC, rape has been used by armed groups as a weapon of war, and is perpetrated with total impunity. As a result, rape has become trivialised and has increased throughout the
country, including in areas where conditions are relatively stable. Victims include women, men and children of all ages, from six-months to over 70 years.

At the height of the fighting, rape and other forms of sexual violence have been used to terrorise entire communities, forcing populations to flee to
take possession of their territory, to control communities, and to punish individuals and entire groups for their alleged support of enemy forces. In times of relative stability, rape is perpetrated alongside pillaging. These crimes are not only characterised by their scale but also by their brutality.
For many reasons (fear of filing complaints, stigmatisation of victims, the fact that most victims are in remote regions that are hard to access, the fact that some victims do not survive), it is impossible to make a precise estimate of the number of victims of rape and other crimes of sexual violence in DRC. The only certainty is that the scale is massive.
In South Kivu, in 2005, approximately 14,200 cases of sexual violence were recorded by the health services (statistics of the U.N. Office on Human Rights in Sud-Kivu).
In this province in 2006, humanitarian organisations recorded 27,000 sexual attacks. And according to the Synergie provinciale, over 12,000 cases of rape and sexual violence against women and young girls were recorded in South Kivu in 2007.

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