In conflict zones, rape and other forms of sexual abuse are gender-based violence that women experience because they are unable to defend themselves. The rates of violence against women are higher in conflict zones than in non-conflict zones, which implies that conflicts predispose women to sexual abuses such as rape and sex trafficking. According to Peterman, Palermo, and Bredenkamp, “violence against women, often used as a systematic tactic of war to destabilize populations and destroy community and family bond,” is common in conflict zones such as the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Warlords use rape and sexual abuse act in the war zones to intimidate their opponents. Since women are vulnerable to conflicts, they become victims of conflicts that have nothing to do with them. In conflict zones, warlords look for captives to torture, abuse, a form of protection, and a source of ransom. Hence, the extent of rape and sexual abuses in a certain zone of conflict depicts the nature of violence and power wielded by the warlords.
Statistics indicate that cases of rape, sex trafficking, and other forms of sexual abuse have detrimental effects on women and humanity in general. Tol reports that cases of rape vary from one conflict zone to another as conflict zones such as Columbia, Burundi, Azerbaijan, and Rwanda experienced 11%, 19%, 25%, and 39% cases of rape, respectively. From the statistics, it is evident that cases of rape in conflict zones measure the degree of violence and control. For instance, displaced women in Columbia experienced 11% of rape cases, while women who were victims of the Rwandan genocide experienced 39%. This means that severe conflicts have many cases of rape while mild conflicts have few cases of rape. Violence against women in conflict zones has social, psychological, and health impacts. Among women who are victims of rape and other sexual abuses, impacts such as unwanted pregnancies, HIV infections, physical injuries, and trauma are common.