There are many factors linked to rape as a weapon of war, a phenomenon facilitated by ongoing conflict. Each context is unique, thought several underlying causes have been identified, for example poverty, lawlessness, corruption and patriarchy. With regard to the latter, Dr. Denis Mukwege has witnessed how it affects women disproportionately due to their ascribed inferior status to men. Understanding rape as a weapon of war, however, is complex and requires a holistic understanding of the conditions, causes and consequences of such behaviours. In all situations, rape is a powerful and ‘inexpensive’ tactic of war used by both state forces and other armed groups to terrorize and destroy individuals, families, and communities.
Yet, rape is not always used as a strategy of war in all conflicts. We must identify the causes that facilitate such atrocities.