Rape as Weapon of War in the Eastern DRC?: The Victims’ Perspective

Rampant sexual violence is one of the most horrendous human rights abuses taking place within Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) armed conflict. The UN has called these abuses “strategic” and a “weapon of war.” Both labels carry specific implications within the human rights discourse. However, there is a lack of structured data exploring these concepts in the context of the DRC. To address this empirical gap, twenty-five rape survivors were interviewed. In the eyes of the victims the rapes served a multitude of different purposes and appear to be both endemic and indiscriminate. The rapes are the modus operandi of the war.