Last updated: 8 september, 2010 - 13:30 GMT

Rape in Congo

Aluta and Riziki, Democratic Republic of Congo

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It is hard to comprehend the sheer scale of violence against women in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Rape is commonly used as a weapon in a region stalked by militias and undisciplined soldiers.

The United Nations had a peacekeeping force only a few miles from one of the targeted villages, but it did nothing. A UN official has now gone on the record saying that the organisation failed the victims.

Sexual violence is clearly a massive problem which will not be easy to sort out.

A young British man is trying to raise awareness of the issue after a meeting with a woman who had been violently raped in Goma in eastern DRC.

26-year-old Chris Jackson felt his response to the woman's story had been "pathetic" and decided to run 12 marathons, including one in Congo, over the course of a year to highlight the problem.

While he was there, he met a number of soldiers and other men who confessed to having raped, but who now claim they are reformed.

When Chris came in to the Outlook studio he told Jo Fidgen about the conversation that convinced him he had to do something to help, and his hope that the former rapists really have changed their ways.

click Chris's blog

click Women for Women International

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