DR Congo

Sexual Violence, May 2002

A violent war has plagued Eastern Congo since 1994, when Hutu extremists sought sanctuary in the region following their part in the Rwandan genocide. The new Rwandan government force followed them over the border seeking revenge. Armies from Uganda, Zimbabwe and Angola, became involved; and Congo’s government forces from Kinshasa tried in vain to regain control of the vast area. Sexual Violence against women and children living the region has been used extensively by all sides of the conflict.

“Women and girls are being forced to pay the price of this war. They are now so traumatised they will never have normal lives,” a gynecologist working in the region said. ” For every woman who comes to me for help there are thousands more. For a child who has watched his mother and sisters raped, for the babies born because of rape, to the little girl raped so often she will never walk, our society is being crippled by this sexual violence.”

  • A widow with her young child in a village that has been repeatedly attacked by different armies. Kate Holt.
  • A waiting room of a health center in North Kivu, DRC. Kate Holt.
  • Women and their children in Kalemie hospital, Katanga, who have walked for days to reach the sanctuary of the hospital. Kate Holt.
  • A woman and her children in Nyunzu hospital, Katanga, who has walked for days. Kate Holt.
  • A mother and her children in Nyunzu hospital who fled her village following a series of brutal attacks. Kate Holt.
  • A woman is told she is pregnant after being attacked by soldiers who raided her village. Kate Holt.
  • A young boy abandoned by his mother in an orphanage after she was raped. Kate Holt.
  • A family stand outside their homes in a small village north of Goma. Kate Holt.
  • An rebel RCD - Goma soldier guards a village in North Kivu. Kate Holt.
  • Many women have been abandoned and widowed as a result of the ongoing war. Kate Holt.
  • Attacked by soldiers, when they raided her small village last year. Kate Holt.
  • A woman nurses her starving child having walked for 30 days to reach the sanctuary of the hospital in Kalemie. Kate Holt.
  • This woman's village was repeatedly attacked by rebel soldiers, her husband abandoned her and fled. Kate Holt.
  • Portrait of a young girl in a female ward of Bukavu Hospital. Kate Holt.
  • At a meeting organised by a local women's group in Bukavu, Eastern Congo. Kate Holt.