I set up a google news alert for the Congo to find out about some current events, and I was horrified/heartbroken when I read some of the recent articles about the wide spread sexual attacks on women over the last decade or so in parts the Congo. Rape has been a brutal weapon of war, with devastating consequences. Rwandan rebel attacks have often left villages devastated, with the gang rapes being used to show the husbands, families, and entire villages that they are powerless.Many husbands leave their wives after they have been raped, as it is the custom that a man will not take back his wife after she has had sex with another man, even if she was raped.
Women are scared to be out on their own, which has lead to decreased ability for them to travel to nearby villages to trade for food. As a result, there are growing concerns of malnutrition linked with the danger of potential sexual assault.
In the articles I read, it sounds as if there are growing resources for victims of rape, in the form of medical care and counseling, and there are efforts to educate everyone involved to improve the lives of victims and retore family unity.
This recent article from the New York Times shares the experience of a Congolese man who did not leave his wife after she was raped, and speaks to the hope for restoring family life in the Congo after some of the atrocious acts that have taken place: