More Vicious Than Rape

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In John Barnes dystopian novel ‘Kaleidoscope Century‘, the protagonist occupies a 21st century a million miles away from the ordinarily rosy scientific positivism of most Science Fiction. In Barnes’s future, rival armies systematically utilise rape as a weapon in continually escalating conflicts, and alienated soldiers move as mercenaries from one side to another, too damaged to consider the impact of their actions. When we read articles like the following from Newsweek, detailing the horrific injuries inflicted on women by combatants in the Congo conflict, it’s difficult to consider such predictions pessimistic.

“When we see a lesion, we can tell who the perpetrator is; there are special methods of each group, types of injuries. The Interahamwe after the rape will introduce objects; a group in Kombo sets fire to the women’s buttocks afterwards, or makes them sit on the coals of a fire. There’s another group that specializes in raping 11-, 12-, 13-, 14-year-old girls, one that gets them pregnant and aborts them.” The youngest victim of fistula from rape his [Dr. Denis Mukwege, medical director of Panzi Hospital.] hospital has seen was 12 months old; the oldest, 71.

The saddest part is that such injuries continue to be inflicted, almost five years after this conflict officially ended.

Read the article on MSNBC.

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