Added: August 5, 2017 – Last updated: August 5, 2017


Author: Hanna Lenander

Title: Rape, the masculine thing to do?

Subtitle: A comparative study of rape in DRC by the DRC military and the peacekeeping force

Thesis: Bachelor Thesis, Lund University

Advisor: Annika Bergman Rosamond

Year: Spring 2017

Pages: ii + 24pp.

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century, 21st Century | African History: Congolese History | Types: Wartime Sexual Violence / First Congo War, Second Congo War


Link: Lund University Publications (Free Access)


Abstract: »This thesis deals with the vast number of rapes that have been conducted in DRC (the Democratic Republic of Congo) since the outbreak of war in ’98. I have used a comparative case approach to investigate this phenomenon and have compared the DRC military with the UN’s peacekeeping forces in DRC. I have done this through content analysis, and I have analyzed studies and reports from my two different cases. By using this method I have been able to determine different themes on how rape in DRC are explained. I have then used a theoretical framework on masculinity theory in war to analyze these themes. My theoretical framework explained how militarized masculinities are theorized and how peacekeeping forces construct their masculinity. The four main themes that I have seen that explain why the soldiers in both DRC military and the UN peacekeeping force is: failed masculinity, high heterosexual sex drive, being a protector/provider and gender inequality. Especially the first two themes I have seen being important when explaining acts of rape in DRC. Failed masculinity makes the soldiers want to reassert their masculinity and violence is a prominent feature of masculinity which means that resorting to violence to reassert one’s failed masculinity seems like the easy choice. The attitude of males’ high heterosexual sex drive also normalizes rape and enables the soldiers to use rape as tool to reassert their masculinity. It might seem as the perfect way to reassert their masculinity for some soldiers since it both includes the masculine feature of being violent and showing off the masculine high heterosexual sex drive.« (Source: Thesis)


  1. Introduction (p. 1)
    1.1 Purpose and research question (p. 2)
  2. Previous research (p. 3)
    2.1 Rape in wars and conflicts (p. 3)
  3. Theory (p. 5)
    3.1 Masculinity theory in war and conflict (p. 5)
  4. Method (p. 8)
    4.1 Case selection (p. 8)
    4.2 Materials (p. 8)
    4.3 Limitations (p. 9)
    4.4 Operationalization (p. 9)
  5. The DRC conflict and UN’s intervention (p. 11)
  6. Analysis (p. 12)
    6.1 Constructing masculinity in the DRC military (p. 12)
    6.2 Failed masculinity and frustration (p. 12)
    6.3 High sex drive (p. 13)
    6.4 Protector (p. 15)
    6.5 Gender inequality (p. 16)
    6.6 Other arguments by the DRC military and the peacekeeping force (p. 17)
    6.7 Constructing masculinity in the UN’s peacekeeping mission in DRC (p. 19)
  7. Conclusion (p. 20)
  8. References (p. 22)

Wikipedia: History of Africa: History of the Democratic Republic of the Congo | Sex and the law: Wartime sexual violence | War: First Congo War, Second Congo War / Rape during the Congo civil wars, Sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo