Thousands of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo marched against mass rapes on Sunday , which have become increasingly prevalent in the country as a weapon of war. According to CNN, many of the marchers were rape survivors. The march took place in Bukavu, located in eastern Congo and followed a peace and development forum.
World March of Women, together with several local women's groups, organized the march which aimed to use the event to fight the societal stigma often faced by rape victims and draw global attention to the use of rape as a tactic of war. Many women left hospital beds to join in the march.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has been named the "rape capital of the world" by the United Nations. According to CNN, there were 15,000 women raped by armed rebel groups in eastern Congo in 2009. Between July 30 and August 2 of this year alone, more than 300 people, mostly women, were raped in the country's North Kivu province. The United Nations has condemned the lack of civilian protection provided by Congolese police, military, and UN stabilization forces in the area. Since the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo began in 1998, tens of thousands of civilians have been raped.