The room is crowded with women, all of whom have been raped. If that’s not horrifying enough, many of the women have been raped multiple times and are pregnant as a result. Their terrifying stores of torture and terror are not even unusual. If the Democratic Republic of Congo is the rape capital of the world, then Minova is its nerve centre – and the raping is still going on. The town is most notorious for the mass rape of hundreds of women by Congolese soldiers in November 2012.
An investigation by the United Nations found the soldiers raped at least 97 women and 33 girls (some as young as six). The locals insist the true figure is far higher – and more alarmingly, that the rapes are still continuing. The assaults are not confined to Congolese soldiers but also the rebel militias as well as the vigilante groups set up to ‘protect’ the population.
The Sky camera crew is at a shelter set up for rape victims by a woman called Rebecca Masika (known as Ma Masika).She has two children as a result of rape and knows the trauma and isolation of being a victim. “If you look at my face, you can see the scar, it’s a mark of rape and I have them all over my body,” she says. “I had to help these women because I’ve been raped too.
“They made me watch them cut my husband’s body into pieces, then they raped me on his dead body.” One of the young girls in the room looks heavily pregnant and has a visible weeping sore on her right ankle. Anuarite is 16 years old – barely out of childhood herself. The rebel militia who raped her did so several times during the four months she was held captive.
She has terrible internal injuries too – and cries as she recounts her horrific story to us. Her birth won’t be easy.She says: “They took us into the bush and those who refused to sleep with them, they forced, by stabbing us with knives. They killed many girls. “Some of them were shot with bullets in the vagina.”All these stories are uncomfortable hearing. We hear how the rapists – again in uniform – have even attacked the very house where Ma Masika has built the refuge.
All these women have been left homeless after being cast out by their families and their communities. And the refuge is crowded out with children – all the result of rape. It is heartbreakingly tragic. There’s a whole generation of rape babies – and little interest from the outside world coupled with mass inertia as to how to make it all stop.Congo’s civil war may be two decades old but the violence is creating fresh victims every day-(Sky News).