Sexual violence has been a widespread issue in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for decades. The term "Ubakagi" is a Congolese word used to describe cutting meat from a dead animal, but it is also used to describe raped women. In this context, a rape survivor is automatically considered to be of lower status than an animal. As a result, she is often ostracized from her community and even her family. Sexual violence is often used as a weapon of war in the various conflicts that have occurred in Congo. It is an efficient way of offending and humiliating the opposition, with devastating long-term consequences for the victims.
Black magic also plays a role in the use of sexual violence in Congo. Offenders believe that the ashes of female reproductive organs have magical powers when used for tattoos. As a result, some rape offenders kill and mutilate their victims after raping them. This form of sexual violence is particularly brutal, and it is an indication of the deeply entrenched cultural beliefs that contribute to sexual violence in the DRC.
In the context of this issue, the phallus is a symbol of power and abuse. There are numerous facets to explore regarding the relationship between the offender and power, including the animal-like behavior of the offenders, the colonial history that has contributed to the present-day context, and the system and rituals that were used to execute the rapes. By understanding these different factors, we can begin to comprehend the complex nature of the issue of sexual violence in Congo.
The effects of sexual violence are long-lasting and complex. Women who have survived sexual violence are often left with physical and psychological scars that persist long after the conflict has ended. They may suffer from depression, anxiety, and PTSD, and they may struggle to reintegrate into their communities. Sexual violence also has long-term implications for the broader society, including the breakdown of social structures and the erosion of trust.