'War is Not Yet Over': Community Perceptions of Sexual Violence and Its Underpinnings in Eastern DRC

Title'War is Not Yet Over': Community Perceptions of Sexual Violence and Its Underpinnings in Eastern DRC
Publication TypeWebsite
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsDolan, Chris
Place PublishedLondon

Sexual violence continues unabated in Eastern DRC, despite the signing of various peace accords from 2003 onwards and the promulgation of the 2006 Laws sanctioning sexual violence. This report focuses on community perceptions of sexual violence in Eastern DRC and shows that the persistence of sexual abuse against women but also increasingly against grown men and children is considered by communities in Eastern DRC as one the primary indicator that war is not yet over. The study examines whether the “rape as the weapon of war” analysis for sexual violence, which has become one of the main building-blocks of the international community’s response, is sufficient to explain the persistence of sexual violence, for even though military forces and rebels groups remain the primary perpetrators, sexual violence is also increasingly committed by civilians. The report argues that although it is still valid to describe sexual abuse as a weapon of war in certain circumstances in Eastern DRC, we should look at additional underlying structural factors such as poverty and scarcity of land, weakness of state structures, physical and economic insecurity. The study also examines the part played by ethnic and gender identities, gender norms and discourses as well as changing gender roles. The report proposes a number of policy recommendations to policy-makers in DRC and the wider region.

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