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Shocking Congo rape statistics show husbands - not just soldiers, rebels - perpetuate the problem

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Shocking statistics are coming from a new report on rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

More than 400,000 women were raped in a 12-month period in 2006-07, according to a new study by three public health researchers from the International Food Policy Research Institute, Stony Brook University in New York, and the World Bank.

The study, due to be published in the American Journal of Public Health in June, found that 1,152 women were raped every day during that time frame – a rate equal to 48 per hour.

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The number of women raped at least once in the conflict-torn eastern province of North Kivu – 67 per 1,000, according to the study – means a woman there is more than 100 times more likely to be raped than a woman in the United States.

"The take-home message: This is the first time we have a ballpark figure for sexual violence in the Congo," writes Congo expert and Christian Science Monitor guest blogger, Jason Stearns. "Previous figures were based on women self-reporting, and ranged between 15,000-17,000 per year. And of course the real take home message is: levels of sexual violence are extremely high. Now the job is to figure out what can be done to address this."

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