Given the choice between watching her husband be killed or submitting to rape, a Congolese mother-of-eight named Clementine chose rape. Afterward, Clementine's husband left her -- a reminder that the stigma and guilt associated with rape can cause a lifetime of suffering. Unfortunately, Clementine isn't the only woman in the Democratic Republic of Congo who's been raped and is dealing with the tragic aftermath.
This July and August saw mass rapes in eastern DR Congo, and according to UN reports, up to 500 women and children are now believed to have been raped in recent weeks.
A Senior UN Official admits that they have "failed" the victims of mass rape in the Congo, but are determined to turn the situation around. Urge UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to ensure that the women of the Congo will never be subjected to a tragedy like this again.
The United Nations is now reporting that 500 women and children in the DR Congo are victims of mass rapes that occurred in July and August of 2010. This number is more than double the initial estimates, and I'm distressed to hear of each additional woman or child who was subjected to this tragedy.
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Mr. Khare, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, has admitted the U.N.'s fault in this issue, and he has also spoken about its continuing responsibility. I would like to echo Mr. Khare's comment that, "We owe a responsibility to the victims to make their lives better but also we owe them the responsibility of making DRC better."
The victims of the mass rapes need full support, medical attention, and redress, but in the long run, the solution will rely on promoting peace in the DR Congo. In the meantime, I join Mr. Khare in calling for the prosecution of the Rwandan and Congolese rebels responsible for the rape, and in calling on UN peacekeepers to make more night patrols and perform more random checks on communities.
Thank you in advance for your commitment to restoring the DR Congo and giving the women of this nation a voice.
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