In the Democratic Republic of Congo, as many as 500,000 women and children have been raped in acts of war. Sexual violence has become so widespread that the UN’s Margot Wallstrom, described Congo as the ‘rape capital of the world’. Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) says that over half of all the rape cases it deals with worldwide are in DRC. The UN now recognize sexual violence used in armed conflict as a war crime. This will not stop the crime immediately, nor will it erase the physical and psychological damage suffered by those abused. Optimists say that it is a move in the right direction. Others believe that without concrete actions – steps taken to address the route cause of the conflict and lawlessness, rape will continue to be used as a weapon of war.

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Democratic Republic of Congo, North Kivu, Goma, May 2010

Alpha Ujuvi supports vulnerable children, in particular orphans, children who've suffered sexual violence, abandoned children, children with HIV and AIDS. Half of the 50 children at their lodge have been raped, many by armed men.  An estimated 250,000 women have been victims of sexual violence during the Democratic Republic of Congo's civil war. As the chaos that accompanies war continues so does the rape of women in the area.

Robin Hammond / NOOR