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May 11, 2011

The United Nations grossly underestimated prevalence of rape in Congo

 A new study shows that in Dr Congo 1,152 women are  raped every day, 48 raped every hour, or four women raped every five minutes.

More than 400,000 women ages 15 to 49 were raped across all provinces of the DR Congo during a 12-month period in 2006 and 2007, according to a new study in the American Journal of Public Health.
- ( to no ones surprise, the United Nations  was way off in its estimation that only 15,000 women were raped during that period)-

The study, "Estimates and Determinants of Sexual Violence Against Women in the Democratic Republic of Congo," represents the first-ever estimates of sexual violence in DRC.  -

-"The study creates another compelling argument that sexual violence in the DRC is not only a grievous mass violation of human rights but is a security threat to the entire DRC," said Michael VanRooyen, MD, MPH, Director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. "- the message is important and clear: Rape in the DRC has metastasized amid a climate of impunity, and has emerged as one of the great human crises of our time."

Sexual violence occurred in all provinces, the study shows, while the number of women raped at least once in the eastern conflict area of North Kivu—67 per 1,000—is more than double the national average. -

"Our results confirm that previous estimates of rape and sexual violence are severe underestimates of the true prevalence of sexual violence occurring in the DRC," said lead study author Amber Peterman, PhD. "Moreover, even these new, much higher figures still represent a conservative estimate of the true prevalence of sexual violence because of chronic underreporting due to stigma, shame, perceived impunity, and exclusion of younger and older age groups as well as men."

A Thousand Sisters is a new advocacy organization founded by Lisa Shannon and aimed at empowering everyday women and men to become leaders in the movement to end violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo and prevent mass atrocities worldwide.athousandsisters.org<http://athousandsister.org/>
 call Michelle Hamilton (415) 254-1575; or Lisa Shannon (503) 929-8369 for more information.

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