The eastern areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been called the worst areas in the world to be a woman or child. For the past 15 years, women and girls in the region have suffered mass sexual violence on an unimaginable scale, perpetrated by the Congolese army, rebels, militias, and others. Impunity has been the rule, and simply finding courtrooms and judges is next to impossible beyond the provincial capitals.
In response, the Open Society Justice Initiative and the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) have supported the creation of mobile gender courts able to properly try rape cases. The courts have brought a measure of justice—and dignity—to victims and demonstrate that, with modest support, local institutions can respond even under the most challenging circumstances.
Note: This report was updated in January 2013 to include statistics through October 2012.