“I started to tremble” Sexual violence in Kasai, DRC

Bibiche* and her family members were raped inside their home in Kasai Central province, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). A year passed before she was able to get treatment. Survivors of sexual violence must receive treatment within 72 hours in order to prevent HIV and unwanted pregnancy, but three out of every four patients treated by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Kasai are unable to come during that important window. Bibiche was still able to receive treatment for syphilis, vaccination against tetanus, and mental health care. “I now feel at ease,” she says. MSF treats an average of more than 200 victims of sexual violence per month in Kananga Provincial Reference Hospital, located in the capital of Kasai Central. In the last five months, 80 percent of these patients reported having been raped by armed men. (*Name changed to protect anonymity.)