There has been a war in the DCR for many years now. Who is at war changes, but a constant feature of the conflict is the sexual violence perpetrated by soldiers on all sides. Civilians are raped en masse – predominantly women, but also men and children – in what has become a routine practice. Rape is used as a weapon of war to intimidate people who are seen as supporters of the opposing side. The UN has forces stationed in DCR, but has so far failed to stop the awful tide of violence. The most recent reports concern the Walikale region. A coalition of armed militia carried out a series of attacks on civilians in July and August. The UN’s human rights chief said the “scale and viciousness” of the mass rapes “defy belief”. Even for DCR, where such attacks are common, the incident stood out because of the “extraordinarily cold-blooded and systematic way” it was carried out. There is a UN base just 20 miles away from where the attacks took place, but they failed to adequately protect the victims, as the UN has admitted. Now the very same region has suffered another mass raping – this time, it is alleged by UN peacekeepers, the perpetrators were government troops. It goes without saying that these horrendous practices have a terrible effect on the people attacked. There are survivors’ accounts on this BBC site. Thanks to W for the story.