When a natural disaster like an earthquake occurs anywhere in the world, emergency personnel from across the globe can be on the ground in within 24 hours with body sniffing dogs and other equipment to search for survivors and save lives. Now imagine that disaster is yet another allegation of the mass rape of 300 women and children in Congo. Our response should be the immediate presence of aid workers and crime scene experts working with victims to collect potential DNA evidence and the rapid analysis of those samples. In doing so, the response and cry to the rest of the world would be “this is happening” and we can prove it with science. It is time to take rape off the table as a weapon of war and there is no better way to do it than to vigilantly and aggressively leverage the power of DNA quickly and efficiently.
And this isn’t just about the testing but, as in every case in which forensic DNA is used, this is also about victim empowerment. It is an opportunity for women to understand that they do not stand alone with their stories and their allegations. That like other woman and children in other countries, there is proof, scientific proof of their victimization.