Africa: Rape in War As Destructive As Chemical Weapons – Congolese Doctor

The use of rape in war is as destructive as the use of chemical weapons, a Congolese doctor said on Tuesday at a global summit on sexual violence in conflict.

Denis Mukwege, who was meeting British Prime Minister David Cameron later in the day, said he had only one message to give: that the international community must establish a red line for the use of rape in war in the same way it had done for the use of chemical weapons.

Mukwege, who runs a hospital for rape victims in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), also suggested a new word should be found to replace “rape” because it did not convey the comprehensive destruction caused by war-time sexual violence.

“It’s not only sexual relations without consent. It’s an act of destruction. It’s an act which results in the negation of the other’s humanity, and it’s done to not only destroy people, but the community,” he said at a session at the summit co-hosted by Foreign Secretary William Hague and actress Angelina Jolie, special envoy of the U.N. refugee agency.

More than half a million women have been raped in Congo, which one senior U.N. official has described as the rape capital of the world.

Mukwege’s Panzi Hospital, which he set up in Bukavu, South Kivu province, in 1999, has helped more than 40,000 girls and women, who have been the victims of some of the most horrendous violence on the planet.

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