A vision of the possible:
For six months now, through a partnership with Heal Africa, Bode Technology has been receiving rape cases from the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Heal Africa has established a system for the collection and submission of rape cases and Bode has advised on how samples should be treated to remain forensically viable. The next step in this process is to secure funding to begin the initial testing of these cases and to have some successful ‘hits’ in which DNA reports can be submitted to authorities in the DRC.
The creation of an effective DNA system to combat rape in the DRC will require the support of DRC officials. Without their support, DNA reports linking to or exonerating individuals from rape cases may languish in the judicial system. Thus, an educational campaign involving such officials will be required. But once DNA testing has proven its value, local officials as well as media personalities and families, may become great supporters and proponents of the DNA testing system. Looking further ahead, successful application of DNA testing to combat rape could help serve as an impetus for the creation of a DNA databasing system in which the full power of DNA testing could be used to combat rape and violence within the DRC, as well as to identify the missing. The science is proven. The effect it can have on nations is proven. Whether it can be successfully utilized in the DRC is an open question, but the above outlines a path forward to success.