Now, The World Is Without Me: An investigation of sexual violence in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

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Research on sexual violence in DRC is extremely challenging. Sexual violence is deeply stigmatized in Congolese culture and many of those affected live in remote or insecure regions. Thus, rigorous data are lacking and many important questions remain unanswered. The report presents a retrospective cohort study of sexual violence survivors presenting to Panzi Hospital, with a specific aim of answering the following outstanding questions: When, where and how are women being attacked and what makes them vulnerable to sexual violence? How has the rape epidemic in South Kivu evolved over the last five years?
    “N OW , T HE W ORLD I S W ITHOUT M E ”: A N I NVESTIGATION OF S EXUAL V IOLENCE IN  E ASTERN D EMOCRATIC R  EPUBLIC OF C ONGO   A Report by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative With Support from Oxfam America April 2010  I  NVESTIGATION OF S EXUAL V IOLENCE IN E ASTERN DRC i “We found them in our house. They pillaged everything. They  put my husband on the bed and beat him. Then two of the soldiers raped me. This story is so tragic - I can’t believe this happened to me. I prefer death instead of life. Now, the world is without me because of my situation.” - 27-year old mother of three children who was raped in June 2002 and subsequently abandoned  by her husband   ii H  RV RD H UM NIT RI N I NITI TIVE   The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) is a university-wide center involving multiple entities within the Harvard community that provide expertise in public health, medicine, social science, management and other disciplines to promote evidence-based approaches to humanitarian assistance. In 2005, the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative was established as a University-wide academic and research center, to respond to increasing demands for technical expertise, educational and training opportunities from NGO partners, professionals and graduate students. The mission of the Initiative is to relieve human suffering in war and disaster by advancing the science and practice of humanitarian response worldwide. HHI fosters interdisciplinary collaboration in order to: ã Improve the effectiveness of humanitarian strategies for relief, protection and prevention; ã Instill human rights principles and practices in these strategies; ã Educate and train the next generation of humanitarian leaders. Harvard Humanitarian Initiative 14 Story Street, 2nd Floor Cambridge, MA 02138 Tel: +1.617.384.8368   O XF M I NTERN TION L   Oxfam International is a confederation of fourteen organizations working together in more than 100 countries to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice: Oxfam America (, Oxfam Australia (, Oxfam-in-Belgium (, Oxfam Canada (, Oxfam France - Agir ici (, Oxfam German (, Oxfam GB (, Oxfam Hong Kong (, Intermon Oxfam (, Oxfam Ireland (, Oxfam Mexico (, Oxfam New Zealand ( Oxfam Novib (, Oxfam Quebec ( The following organizations are currently observer members of Oxfam International, working towards full affiliation: Oxfam India (, Oxfam Japan ( The following organization is linked to Oxfam International: Oxfam International and Ucodep Campaign Office (Italy), Email: Please write to any of the agencies for further information, or visit Email:  
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