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New VOA Website Lets Congo Rape Victims Tell Their Stories

Congolese patients and rape victims learn to use sewing machines at the Heal Africa clinic in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, March 4, 2011

The Voice of America has teamed up with the website CitizenGlobal to give rape victims in the Democratic Republic of Congo a place to tell their personal stories of horror and suffering.

The website called Congo Story: War, Women and Rape uses interviews with victims conducted by VOA reporters. Some of the attackers themselves get a chance to speak.

VOA Director Dan Austin says the project is an oral history that the outside world otherwise would not have.

The United Nations has called Congo the "rape capital of the world." Experts on the DRC say rape is a weapon of war by both the military and rebels who are still fighting to topple the government despite a 2003 peace treaty.

Experts say more than 15,000 women, children and men are Congolese rape victims.