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Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 64;

Survivors’ Sociocultural Status in Mwenga: A Comparison of the Issue before and after Rape

School of Counseling, Psychotherapy and Spirituality, Saint Paul University, 223 Main street, Ottawa, ON K1S 1C4, Canada
Centre for Child Protection, Pontifical Gregorian University, Roma 000186, Italy
Mwenga is a rural territory in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where the rule of taboo still dominates given the absence of adequate modern legal system infrastructure. Like in other rural territories, rape was used as an attack against cultural norms on which local communities are founded as an attempt to weaken these communities suspected of sympathizing with armed groups. As reported by Human Rights Watch, in 2000, then rebel group “Le Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie (RCD), supported by Rwandan and Ugandan troops, raped, tortured and buried alive several women in Mwenga and other rural territories (Human Rights Watch 2000).
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 April 2017 / Revised: 6 June 2017 / Accepted: 12 June 2017 / Published: 15 June 2017
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This article discusses psychosocial challenges faced by women survivors of rape in their families and communities based on the interpretation of rape as a sexual taboo and held beliefs that automatic transgression of taboo, through unwanted sexual contact, defiles and endangers survivors and those who associate with them. This article raises awareness on these challenges and provides contextualized useful knowledge for professionals in helping the relationship with survivors and for gender relations policy makers. Built on results from a doctoral qualitative, grounded theory-based research, the article presents survivors’ stories from women who suffered rape and therapists who provided multidisciplinary services to them. Researchers have found that rape is widely believed to be a sexual taboo in Mwenga and other rural areas from the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The results suggest that efforts to support healing and social integration of survivors can be well supported by taking into consideration the contextual belief system around sexual defilement as this plays a significant role in post rape relations for survivors in their families and communities. View Full-Text
Keywords: women; sexual taboo; rape; sociocultural status women; sexual taboo; rape; sociocultural status
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Maisha, B.; Malette, J.; Demasure, K. Survivors’ Sociocultural Status in Mwenga: A Comparison of the Issue before and after Rape. Soc. Sci. 2017, 6, 64.

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