Congo rape victims
Rape victims who have been successfully reintegrated into their communities assemble in a "peace hut" near Walungu, South Kivu in DRC Wikimedia Commons

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the worst place to be a mother, according to a report by Save the Children.

DRC, which was also ranked by the UN as the worst place to be a woman in 2013, has been ravaged by war for nearly 20 years, and the effects are clearly evident in the plight of the country's female population.

Child mortality, poverty, poor education and women's very limited political participation all contribute to alarmingly high maternal mortality figures, according to the report's authors.

As Lyric Thompson, a member of Amnesty International USA's Women's Human Rights Coordination Group, points out, rape and other forms of sexual violence, perpetrated by security forces and armed groups, have become commonplace in Congo.

Not only are women raped by armed groups and soldiers, but they are also victims of domestic violence, which remains largely unpunished.

Access to medical services is also a problem for women in DRC. As shown by a recent US State Department Human Rights Report, husbands' permission is required for delivering key services to their wives.

Amnesty has launched the My Body My Rights campaign, which seeks to protect the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls around the world.

According to the 2007 Demographic Health Survey (DHS), 71% of women [in DRC] reported some form of sexual, mental, or physical abuse. Other sources found that 86% of women in Equateur Province were victims of domestic abuse....Although the law considers assault a crime, it does not specifically address spousal abuse, and police rarely intervened in domestic disputes. There were no reports of judicial authorities taking action in cases of domestic or spousal abuse.

2012 DRC human rights - Amnesty International