Sex as a Weapon of War in DRC by Ann Kirori



Hello everyone!

A week ago, I watched a documentary on local television here in Kenya. This documentary featured the ongoing war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This war has been going on for the last 5 years, jeopardizing the economic development of the nation. What caught my attention is the fact that sex and rape are being used as weapons of war, in that the military in Congo would attack their counterparts’ women and carry out a massive rape act on as many women as they can. The opposition which in this case is the Rwandan military, would revenge by doing the same on as many Congolese women as they can. Such a sad situation as hundreds of women get unwanted children and other diseases and end up living in trauma. The worst part is that for all the women and especially those who are married and unfortunately undergo rape situations, they cannot tell their husbands or anyone else for that matter.Their culture does not provide any room for such discussions. Culturally the husband cannot stay in a marriage where the wife has been defiled and the girls cannot get future husbands. Therefore silence is maintained by these women to avoid losing their husbands and being a reject in the society. As a result, they never get emergency treatment or counselling. These has led to the rise of a generation of fearful women who live in trauma and deep stress. Such a sad situation indeed!

However efforts are being made to end the war and empower women in these region. In reality all these efforts are far from achieving the ultimate goal. 

About the author:  Ann Kirori is a project researcher on the DirtPol project and is concerned primarily with issues pertaining to dirt in education and schools.  Ann's based in Nairobi, is 26 years old and fluent in Kiswahili, English and German.

About the project: DirtPol is an international cultural studies project based at the University of Sussex.  For more information please visit

Follow DirtPol on Twitter: @ProjectDirtPol

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Thanks Ann. It’s a really sad, sad situation there and that’s a horrible example of it.It could easily tie in with our project too, especially when dealing with Steph’s theme of sexuality. Dirtiness and sexuality is really interesting, very far-reaching and usually with inherent sadness too. It reminds me a little bit of the story Tess of the D’Urbervilles which I remember really enjoying as a young student at secondary school but somehow had completely blotted out the tragic ending. It’s basically about a young woman who is raped and consequently has a child. The child dies in infancy and Tess tries to have a normal life afterwards but is unable to. It’s so sad that these women, through no fault of their own, are permanently “dirtied”. Are there any examples in your own culture of this happening or even in books/movies/songs from Kenya/Nigeria/Africa generally?

By DirtPol on Monday, April 14, 2014

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