Amid all the disturbing news about mass rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo, it’s important to remember that although many of the survivors we hear about are female, men are also subject to sexual violence, and there are greater taboos when men speak out.
In a video from the BBC that you should only watch if you’re ready to hear graphic descriptions of the horrific assaults that happen every day in the DRC, a male rape victim describes his attack. It’s a sobering reminder that sexual assault can happen to anyone, especially in places like war-torn Congo, and also emphasizes the need to destigmatize homosexuality so that more men can get help after being raped.
In a New York Times article from last summer, the American Bar Association, which runs a sexual violence legal clinic in Goma, DRC, estimated that 10 percent of their cases were men. And men who need medical attention sometimes die because they are too humiliated to seek help. According to a recent study, a staggering 24% of men and 39% of women have been estimated to have been raped in the Congo, while many more cases go unreported.
“They have robbed me of my humanity. We have lost everything,” the man in the video explains. “Even my wife no longer respects me since I have been raped. She thinks I have been contaminated.”
Photo from Flickr.