Hope in the Shadows: Male Victims of Sexual Assault in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Miya Cain, Harvard Kennedy School.

As a result of ongoing conflict, poverty and instability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congolese men and women have been subjected to various forms of sexual violence by warring rebel militia, government forces, and noncombatants. Most humanitarian aid, money, and international attention supports female victims of sexual violence, but male victims are largely left in the shadows. Simplified narratives of gender violence often define men as villains and women as victims. This narrative aligns with traditional conceptions of gender roles; however, the oversimplification often leaves male victims overlooked by policy responses designed to address sexual violence.

Key wordsarmed conflict / child soldiers / children / sexual violence / sexual violence against men / violence

CountriesDemocratic Republic of Congo