|dc.description.abstract||This study investigates the factors behind the mass rape of women from 1996-2001 in North and
South Kivu provinces during the 1996-2003 armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of
Atrocities against women have always been a significant concern in feminist agendas and
discourses. In time of peace as in time of war, women remain at the center stage of male
violence. The Democratic Republic of Congo conflicts are reported to have killed more people
than in Iraq, Afghanistan and Darfur combined. Sexual violence against women in North and
South Kivu, DRC is believed to be the worst in the world. Women in these two provinces were
raped, forced into prostitution, mutilated, and to some extent, subjected to further inhumane acts
such as shooting and the introduction of objects into their private parts. HIV and AIDS, and other
sexual transmitted diseases constitute some of the extra diagnosis associated with the victims.
Yet, to date, no one understands why these women continue to be raped on a daily basis.
The 1996-2003 Congo conflict has witnessed the involvement of several countries such as
Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Yet, none of these interventionist countries
have ever condemned sexual atrocities committed against women in DRC, in general and in
North and South Kivu, in particular. Despite having a democratically elected government
and legitimate institutions such as courts of law and tribunals, crimes of this kind committed
against women continue unabated.
The policies of militarism and wars either intended for regime change or in the pursuit of the
world's resources have increased the threat of armed conflicts which expose women to rape. The
continuation of sexual violence in these two provinces has led to the view by many media groups
and humanitarian organizations that rape is used as a weapon of war. The Constitution of the
DRC prior to the conflict was biased towards women. The post conflict Constitution approved in
February 2006 is theoretically accommodating of gender-based discrimination. Nationally,
impunity for rape perpetrators has become a norm. Internationally, rape has long been
mischaracterized and diminished by military and political leaders which lead to the belief that
there is a strong undercurrent of patriarchal phenomenon involving many global institutions of
The implication of discriminating, gender-based provisions in the constitution and the failure to
implement policies that empower women has most of the time strengthened the social
construction of masculinity and its idolization which are perceived as the social roots of violence
against women during wartime.
In many armed conflicts similar to that of the North and South Kivu, women have always been
the victims. Yet, men involved in combat have often negotiated peace between themselves rather
than justice for the victims. Justice for women in this part of the world remains elusive.||en_US