The Wartime Rape Narrative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Title: The Wartime Rape Narrative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Authors: Bell, Baillie
Date: 2016
Abstract: The international community has constructed a dominant narrative to explain the prevalence of gendered violence in the eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This dominant narrative posits regional and national antagonisms over conflict minerals as the cause of the Congolese wars that have resulted in the mass rape of Congolese women and girls. Sexual violence against women and girls is portrayed as the most significant form of violence occurring during the Congolese wars. This narrative has had a substantial impact on how the international community has represented, researched and responded to Congolese women and gendered violence. I argue that this narrative is based on problematic conceptions of gender relations rooted in white Western feminism that are incompatible with the local experiences of Congolese women and men. The misconception of gender, gender relations and gender violence has engendered misguided intervention initiatives that have failed to produce meaningful change in the lives of Congolese women. This thesis challenges dominant discourses that inform and impose specific narratives of violence and development agendas. It moves beyond them to propose an alternative analysis of gender and gendered violence. It sheds light on the historical disconnection between international and local perspectives of gender and gender violence in the Congo, arguing that to be effective, international development and humanitarian discourses must be re-examined in light of the local socio-cultural context of eastern Congo.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -