Witness Reports

Democratic Republic of Congo


In Stephanie Nolen’s 2005 Ms. article, "Not Women Anymore...," she quotes a gynecologist named Dr. Denis Mukwege who is one of two doctors in the eastern Congo who performed vaginal reconstructive surgeries at the time:

They rape a woman, five or six of them at a time—but that is not enough. Then they shoot a gun into her vagina. In all my years here, I never saw anything like it... [T]o see so many raped, that shocks me, but what shocks me more is the way they are raped.

An an Oxfam/Harvard report report tells of one ordeal in which family members were forced not only to watch each other be attacked, but to attack their own kin—or be killed:

My husband and I were sleeping in our house. The children were sleeping in the house next door. The soldiers arrived and brought my daughter to our house where they raped her in the presence of my husband and me. Afterwards they demanded that my husband rape my daughter but he refused so they shot him. Then they went into the other house where they found my three sons. They killed all three of my boys. After killing them, two soldiers raped me one after the other.

One woman interviewed by the BBC relayed her rapists’ wish to violently terminate her pregnancy:

Four men took me. They all raped me. At that time, I was nine months’ pregnant. They gang-raped me and pushed sticks up my vagina—that's when my baby died—they said it was better than killing me.