Saturday, February 16, 2008

rape -- drc

I know that I've written about rape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo before, but it's something that I feel is very important. Plus, I have to give a speech on it in my Speech class so I might as well start researching.

Looking through the CIA World Factbook I found that the Congolese have a Total Fertility Rate of 6.37/ children per woman which means that their poplution will not be in decline for a while. (Thanks to my Geography class I know know what a lot of this stuff actually means!) According to my Geography teacher the rate that equates to neither an increase of decrease is 2.1. That is because 2 children are needed to replace their parents and the .1 for children that die in infancy.

Now back on topic. In a 2006 interview with CNN, Dr. Dennis Mukwege Mukengere states that "some of them have knives and other sharp objects inserted in them after they've been raped, while others have pistols shoved into their vaginas and the triggers pulled back." I remember hearingabout that on the 60 minutes report. I don't remember what exactly I wrote on the last blog I posted on this topic, but in many reports, it is said that Congo's own soldiers are the ones who are raped thousands of women a year.

In another interview that came out in Ms. Magazine,Dr. Mukwege says that, "[T]o see so many raped, that shocks me, but what shocks me more is the way they are raped.”

A lot of the cases make me think of the old Discovery Channel show, I Shouldn't Be Alive. With everything that these women go through, they are often left thinking that they'd much rather be dead than continue getting raped. Even afterwards, some women wish they and their child was dead. Each time they see their child brings all the memories back.

Many of the rape victims and even those who work with them to help them move on with their lives say that rape is a powerful weapon, it can often be more powerful than guns and bullets. Women may be killed, but they are tortured and left with the memories for the rest of their life. On top of that, virginity is a prized possesion.
photo from npr.org

Now, onto the medical facilites in Congo. Often the medical centers are makeshift and they usually have only one doctor, in the whole facility. The center's are funded by the governments, but that isn't enough to get by. They rarely recieve supplies, but the women need a lot more than things like band-aids. According to the article in Ms. Magazine, a typical visit costs 70 cents.

In 2003, there were about 1.1 million people in the DRC that had HIV. With an estimated 20-30% of rape victims contracting HIV that number is sure to rise.

I think I've mentioned this before, but I've always been one to think more about the ethical treatment of animals over other things, but since I read Dispatches From the Edge things have been different. I don't feel this strongly about everything, but something about this is different. I really want to do something about this, I think that's why I'm doing a speech on it, even if no one is interested. I would really like to start an organization or something to help these women rather than just donate to some company that I'm not sure where exactly the money is going.

1 comment:

Tanabe said...

I find it really amazing that the US spends the time and money hunting down terrorists when Africa needs more help than anyplace in the world... I'm reluctant to say that we should intervene there too, but the kinds of things that go down there are beyond sickening. I think there was one club back at Kalani that had something to do with it, but I recall that enrollment in it was slim.

I think it's that people just don't care, and that really amazes me.