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U.N. hails DRC rape study

May 13, 2011 at 11:31 AM

GENEVA, Switzerland, May 13 (UPI) -- A report highlighting a pervasive culture of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo goes a long way toward uncovering crimes, a U.N. official said.

A study published by the American Journal of Public Health concludes that women in the DRC were raped during a 2006-07 period at a rate of 48 every hour.

Margot Wallstrom, the U.N. special envoy on sexual violence in conflict, praised the AJPH study as filling gaps in the rape culture in the DRC.

"Studies like this are important and valuable in shedding light on risk factors, such as age, or region of residence, which moves the analysis beyond isolated incident reports to convey a sense of patterns," she said in a statement.

The AJPH study noted that many of the women highlighted in their study were forced into having sex by their husbands or partners.

At least 8,000 rapes were reported by humanitarian agencies in the DRC in 2010.

A military court in the DRC found 11 members of the Congolese military guilty of rape, pillaging and other acts of violence. Their case stems from the rape of 24 women in 2009.

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