Preventing Violence Against Women in the DRC: A Lesson in Aid Effectiveness

By Elizabeth Melampy

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was coined the “rape capital of the world” by UN Special Representative of Sexual Violence in Conflict Margot Wallstrom after her 2010 visit. According to a study in the American Journal of Public Health, 48 women are raped per hour in the DRC. This statistic, as well as public outcry to news coverage of a 2012 mass rape in Minova, DRC, led to the UK’s Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI).

As part of PSVI the UK organized a 2014 summit aimed at combatting sexual violence in conflict areas. Angelina Jolie, the special envoy for UNHRC and UK Foreign Secretary William Hague co-chaired the “Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict.” Over 120 countries, more than 100 NGOs and other international partners, and nearly 900 experts from various fields attended the summit in London.

Possible Caption: Thousands of Congolese live near Goma, DRC, where rape rates are still high. Photo courtesy of Marie Cacace/Oxfam 2012

Thousands of Congolese live near Goma, DRC, where rape rates are still high. Photo courtesy of Marie Cacace/Oxfam 2012

According to the summit report, there were four major areas of focus: strengthening accountability, providing support for victims (especially children), integrating and promoting gender equality, and improving strategic international cooperation. These topics provided the framework for recommendations, which were general in nature due to the global focus of the summit. The summit ended with a vague Statement of Action.

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