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Armed Conflict and Sexual Violence: Experiences of Banyamulenge Women in South Kivu Province (Democratic Republic of Congo)

Beatrice Samson Umubyeyi and Oliver Mtapuri


Published: 2023/09/01


This study explores the lived experience of sexual violence survivors in an armed conflict situation among the Banyamulenge women in South Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In order to achieve its objectives, the study used secondary sources including the existing testimonies from public online sources such as audios, YouTube videos and written testimonies. In addition, existing literature on sexual violence in the DRC as well as official reports such as those of international organizations published online added to the richness of the study’s findings. These sources revealed that sexual violence against women is prevalent in this eastern province of DRC. While sexual violence against women is common in war-torn areas of the DRC, it was apparent that sexual violence against Banyamulenge women is also a result of ongoing and historical hatred and political campaigns against the Banyamulenge community who are perceived as foreigners who must be pushed out of the DRC by all means. The findings show that victims of sexual violence had endured many forms of violence and humiliation. Sexual violence against Banyamulenge women has socio-economic consequences for victims and the communities in which the victims live. The findings also revealed a lack of institutional and social support, which makes it hard for victims to recover. The study concludes by calling for urgent socio-institutional intervention if sexual violence against Banyamulenge women is to be eradicated. Keywords: Lived experience, Sexual violence, Rape, Banyamulenge, South Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of Congo

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