The DRC has recently emerged from a period of institutional crisis and multidimensional conflicts with profound consequences. The wars which have torn the country from the mid 1990s were characterised by gross and massive human rights violations and violence in all forms. Since the majority of this violence was aimed at women and young girls, this category of the population suffered atrocities of every kind. One major driving force behind the massive violence is a seemingly insatiable greed for the countrys natural resources.
During this conflict sexual violence was used as a weapon by various warring factions. The longevity of the conflicts and the war in Eastern DR Congo has favoured a culture of violence that the population is progressively acquiring and transferring to its members. This culture of violence is spreading as a result of the impunity of the perpetrators and incomprehension and ignorance of the law. Since corruption has taken up residence in the courts, the perpetrators of violence are either acquitted without a trial, or arrested and released after a few days for a bribe to the judges and magistrates.
This study covers the provinces of Sud-Kivu, Nord-Kivu, Maniema, Katanga and Orientale Province, five provinces in Eastern DR Congo. It has identified the forms of violence women experienced during the successive wars in Eastern DR Congo and it has identified strategies that can contribute to putting an end to this violence.
The study argues that, in the short and medium term, the promotion of the economic and social power of women will increase their economic independence and this will be one of the most effective strategies to combat the violence that they experience. In the long term, actions to combat impunity must be considered, beside of restoration of security and peace in the East of Congo DR.
The study is a result of a cooperation between GEAD in Goma Congo DR, Afrosvenskarna (ASR) i Stockholm the Afro Swedes in Stockholm and Sveriges Kristna Socialdemokrater The Christian Social Democrats in Sweden. It has been financed via Sida and the Olof Palme International Center.