Alarming study results released today show that the horrors of rape in the central-African nation of Congo are even worse than previously thought: Latest reports are that 1,152 women are raped every day, a rate equal to 48 per hour. This is 26 times more than the previous estimate by the United Nations. Study authors relied on figures from a government health survey and pooled data from across the country to conclude that 29 Congolese women out of every 1,000 were raped.
Congo — a nation of 70 million people that is equal in size to Western Europe — has been plagued by decades of war. "The message is important and clear: Rape in [Congo] has metastasized amid a climate of impunity and has emerged as one of the great human crises of our time," said Michael VanRooyen, the director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.
Michelle Hindin, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health who specializes in gender-based violence, said the actual rate could be even higher than the study reveals. She pointed out that the data were obtained through face-to-face interviews, and people are not always fully honest about their experiences when talking to strangers.
Congo has been called the worst place on earth to be a woman, and it is tragically living up to its reputation.
The analysis will be published in the American Journal of Public Health in June.
Read more at the Huffington Post.
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