Perceptions of justice and hierarchies of rape: Rethinking approaches to sexual violence in Eastern Congo from the ground up

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Abstract

Based on extensive fieldwork research in South Kivu in eastern DRC, this article considers the questions of justice for survivors of sexual violence from the ground-up. The author argues that survivors of rape by armed groups or civilians in the DRC primarily conceive of justice as economic assistance and have limited interest in the prosecution of the perpetrators. Such emphasis on economic assistance cannot be separated from the reality of poverty in which survivor live and local perceptions and practices of justice that are rooted in the concept of reparation. At the same time survivors’ reluctance to pursue formal justice must be understood in the light of the inaccessibility of the Congolese criminal justice system and its failure to play a positive role within society. The article concludes by on drawing some possible recommendations for actors and scholars in this area.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277–295
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Transitional Justice
Volume12
Issue number2
Early online date26 Mar 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

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rape
sexual violence
justice
assistance
reparation
prosecution
economics
poverty
Group

Bibliographical note

This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in International Journal of Transitional Justice following peer review. The version of record Aroussi, S 2018, 'Perceptions of justice and hierarchies of rape: Rethinking approaches to sexual violence in Eastern Congo from the ground up' International Journal of Transitional Justice, pp. (in press) is available online at: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ijtj/ijy005

Cite this

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title = "Perceptions of justice and hierarchies of rape: Rethinking approaches to sexual violence in Eastern Congo from the ground up",
abstract = "Based on extensive fieldwork research in South Kivu in eastern DRC, this article considers the questions of justice for survivors of sexual violence from the ground-up. The author argues that survivors of rape by armed groups or civilians in the DRC primarily conceive of justice as economic assistance and have limited interest in the prosecution of the perpetrators. Such emphasis on economic assistance cannot be separated from the reality of poverty in which survivor live and local perceptions and practices of justice that are rooted in the concept of reparation. At the same time survivors’ reluctance to pursue formal justice must be understood in the light of the inaccessibility of the Congolese criminal justice system and its failure to play a positive role within society. The article concludes by on drawing some possible recommendations for actors and scholars in this area.",
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AB - Based on extensive fieldwork research in South Kivu in eastern DRC, this article considers the questions of justice for survivors of sexual violence from the ground-up. The author argues that survivors of rape by armed groups or civilians in the DRC primarily conceive of justice as economic assistance and have limited interest in the prosecution of the perpetrators. Such emphasis on economic assistance cannot be separated from the reality of poverty in which survivor live and local perceptions and practices of justice that are rooted in the concept of reparation. At the same time survivors’ reluctance to pursue formal justice must be understood in the light of the inaccessibility of the Congolese criminal justice system and its failure to play a positive role within society. The article concludes by on drawing some possible recommendations for actors and scholars in this area.

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