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The Main Impacts of the Civil War in the Democratic Republic of Congo Essay

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Updated: Dec 7th, 2019

Introduction

The world has a lot of natural resources that can be used to benefit humanity and his society. However, as a result of the paradox of the plenty, much of these natural resources have resulted in the death and destruction of man, decline in economic growth and political unrest (Goreux 125).

Diamonds provides a good example of a natural resource that have brought about negative effects in the lives of individuals in the regions that it is found.

However, despite from benefiting from their natural resources, especially diamonds, Angola, Sierra Leone and DRC are the countries with the lowest GDP in the world. According to the World Development Report of 2000/2001, DRC was ranked 194th, Angola 203rd and Sierra Leone 205th (Goreux 127).

The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the countries in Africa that has been blessed with a lot of natural resources. The country, for instance, has a lot of diamond deposits that, if used sustainability, can elevate the it from poverty and ensure economic and social development in the present and future time.

However, these diamond deposits are found in rural regions where the government influence is least felt. As a result, these regions have fallen under the control of rebel groups who enslave individuals to work on diamond mines.

The rule of these rebels is unfair and as a result, civil wars have erupted killing hundreds of thousands of civilians, injuring many and a considerable number of individuals have fled to seek refuge.

Women and children are the ones who have been most affected. Women have been killed, gang raped, abducted and taken as sex slaves for the rebels and in some instances, they have been transformed into combatants. This essay shall however focus on the effect of the war in DRC on civilian women.

Women in War Torn DRC

According to the African traditions and the culture of the natives of DRC, women have always been treated less equally as compared to their male counterparts. This has downgraded the status of women to be house makers. Here, their main role is to conduct house chores and to take care of children.

Men on the other hand have the responsibility of providing for their families. Therefore, it is women and children who are always within their homesteads most of the times.

As it has been stated earlier, DRC is a country that has a lot of alluvial gold. These deposits are mainly found in rural areas. Due to the little or no influence of the government, rebel groups have taken over these mines.

To get people to work in these mines, they normally attack local villages, where mass killings, decapitation and destruction of properties are always conducted.

In most of the cases, it is the women and children who are always present during these attacks. The rebel soldiers in most cases, murder, injure and gang rape the women (Herman 22).

These attacks were mainly concentrated in the eastern side of DRC especially during the 5-year war between 1998 and 2003. In this war, many women and girls became victims of gang rape and other incidences of sexual violence including sexual slavery.

These rebels use rape and sexual violence against girls and women as a weapon of war (Herman 24). In DRC, rebels practically target women in order to humiliate, dominate the local population. This will in most cases lead to the development of fear in the natives who will in most cases surrender to the rebel forces.

On the other hand, such actions of sexual violence will lead to population dispersion as civilians, especially women and children will run to save their lives.

During the 5-year war in DRC between 1998 and 2003, quite a huge number of women reported that they were victims of rape and other sexual violence (Herman 27). Some of them even started that they had been raped and harassed on more than occasion.

This has had tremendous impacts of them. According to the African women, a woman who has been raped is viewed as an outcast by their community. Thus, most if not all of these women always view themselves as outcasts of their communities. They feel as if they are not a part of their community.

This has in some instances made some of these women to abandon their communities, an act which makes them to be more vulnerable to rebel attacks. Rape also leaves a psychological mark in women. Women who have been raped always have mental distress that affects their judgement and decision making process.

Others go as far as developing hatred against men and feeling that they have nothing to live for. In some instances, some of these women become pregnant while others contract STIs and STDs such as syphilis, gonorrhoea and HIV. This changes their lives completely.

Conclusion

The 1998-2003 war in DRC is one of the worlds worst civil war. In the course of this war, the rebels used rape and sexual violence as one of their main tactics of war. This act had a lot of impacts on girls and women.

These acts affected them both physically and mentally. As a result, the rebels humiliated and dominated the community. Such acts of sexual violence should always be abolished since they go against culture, religion and morality.

Works Cited

Goreux, Simon. “Conflict Diamonds: African Paper Working Series. “Journal of Africa 3.4 (2006): 122-145. Print.

Herman, Simon. “Conflict Diamonds.” The Mining Journal 6.12 (2005): 21-30. Print.

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IvyPanda. "The Main Impacts of the Civil War in the Democratic Republic of Congo." December 7, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/identity-3/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "The Main Impacts of the Civil War in the Democratic Republic of Congo." December 7, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/identity-3/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'The Main Impacts of the Civil War in the Democratic Republic of Congo'. 7 December.

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