Women are being systematically attacked in Eastern Congo on a scale never seen before. 27000  sexual assaults were reported in 2006 in South Kivu Province alone and more than 32000 rapes were counted in Eastern Congo during the year 2007 –  both figures consist of the reported cases only and thus represent most likely a fraction of the total sum. Rape is not only used by the army of the DRC but also by the so called Mai Mai rebels, deserter troops, and other gangs of warriors.

”Raping seems to be used as a method to humiliate women in front of their families and communities and thus to destroy the future of those families and communities”
Ari Vatanen comments. Only few perpetrators of rape reach the justice system, whereas those perpetrators convicted often receive only light sentences or even escape from detention. 20 % of women who suffered sexual violence are infected by HIV-AIDS. Violent rapes are so commonplace that in many areas women do not dare to sleep at home at night but hide in the bushes.

Ari Vatanen raised the issue in the European Parliament Plenary Session: ”We cannot continue doing nothing in the face of this nightmare. This is a shocking example of the situation when there is not a democratic and working constitutional state, and the international community is incapable of bringing help to crisis area.”