ABSTRACT

The icon of the raped female body has gained eminence in Western media and in policy representations of postcolonial confl ict. Juxtaposed against the vandalized female is the evil black male: a ruthless, oversexed, primitive savage. Especially in what was once, and now again, is deemed the dark continent. News reports classically spend their opening sections with explicit and intimate descriptions of these masculine transgressions, often accompanied by mystic references to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. To accommodate these caliginous fantasies, the confl ict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), for one, has served as hospitable gratifi er. Upon listening to women’s rape stories in Goma in 2009, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton termed sexual violence ‘evil in its basest form’ (The Guardian 2009). Wartime rape is categorized as ‘the monstrosity of the century,’ 1 and the rapists as ‘savage beasts’ (New York Times 2007). A UN offi cial called the DRC the ‘rape capital of the world’ and ‘the most dangerous place on earth to be a woman’ (BBC News 2010).