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CNN: Rape has become the weapon of choice in the war-torn Congo, with more than 500 rapes committed by rebels since late July. Women are constantly attacked and do not feel safe while working, in the home or with their families. While the United Nations have been slow to respond, they are working to toughen efforts to prevent rapes in the region.
"U.N. officials on Tuesday put the number of rapes and other sexual attacks in eastern Congo since late July at more than 500, more than double the previous estimate.
In remarks prepared for delivery to the Security Council after returning from a fact-finding trip to the region, U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Atul Khare cited 267 rapes or other sexual attacks in the town of Uvira -- on the eastern edge of the country -- and other nearby regions of North and South Kivu, in addition to the 242 rapes that had already been reported in and near the village of Luvungi.
U.N. officials have said they will toughen efforts to stop rapes in the region.
"The women of eastern DRC deserve better," said Margot Wallstrom, a U.N. special representative for sexual violence in conflict who sent a senior member of her staff with Khare on his fact-finding mission to the region. "For them, there is no safe place. They are raped when harvesting crops; when going to market; when fetching water and firewood; when carrying their babies; when in their homes at night, among their loved ones."
She added that the rape is becoming a weapon of choice in eastern DRC. "The sad reality is that incidents of rape have become so commonplace that they do not trigger our most urgent interventions," she said."