Thursday, June 19, 2008
Rape as a weapon of war
Major General Patrick Cammart, Former Division Commander of MONUC:
"It had, therefore, probably become more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in an armed conflict."

Rape is being used as a weapon of war. It is not new and it is always disgusting. And it has exploded. The UN Security Council today demanded an end to persistent sexual violence during armed conflict, calling it a war crime and a component of genocide.

Approved by all 15 members, Council Resolution 1820 "demands the immediate and complete cessation by all parties to armed conflict of all acts of sexual violence against civilians with immediate effect."

It also urged that "all parties to armed conflict immediately take appropriate measures to protect civilians, including women and girls, from all forms of sexual violence."

Rape is used to instill terror in the civilian population, humiliate and degrade them, destroy group bonds and further agendas of cultural and ethnic destruction. Children of rape survivors often are abandoned and shunned by their families.

This isn't just occurring in one or two places. It is happening in:

I wish I could name every country in which a woman was subjected to rape as a weapon of war. I wish I could type each of their names so they wouldn't be forgotten.

No one is doing enough though. Except Stephen Lewis (who is my hero). According to the New York Times, every day, 10 new women and girls who have been raped show up at Panzi hospital. Many have been so sadistically attacked from the inside out, butchered by bayonets and assaulted with chunks of wood, that their reproductive and digestive systems are beyond repair.

This is a direct quote from

With U.N. officials calling for more female officers to better educate women against rape and women saying they won't feel safe until the under-equipped and undermanned United Nations force is strong enough to protect them, the situation shows little sign of improving.

I want to know, how, exactly, women are supposed to be educated against rape. I tend to respect Nic Robertson's reporting but this may have been the stupidest statement I have ever heard. This is Robertson repeating a press release, not reporting!

I haven't read the U.N. resolution (I can't find it on the internet and if someone can - please email me I'm reading it now I haven't found anything yet...), but if they actually say something about educating women against rape when armed gunmen hunt them down while collecting firewood or escaping their burning homes I have little hope.

Honorata Barinjibanwa, 18, said she was kidnapped from a village during a raid in April and kept as a sex slave until August. Most of that time she was tied to a tree, and she still has rope marks ringing her neck. Her kidnappers would untie her for a few hours each day to gang-rape her. Here is one face. One face of thousands.

She was being treated at Panzi Hospital, which has 350 beds, and though a new ward is being built specifically for rape survivors, the hospital sends women back to their villages before they have fully recovered because it needs space for the never-ending stream of new arrivals.

Eve Ensler, founder of the V Day Project and author of the Vagina Monologues is building a center for survivors who have been left without family, community or the capacity to have children in collaboration with UNICEF and Panzi Hospital. City of Joy will give them a safe place to live while providing an education, leadership training and a chance to earn income. To donate or learn more, go to V-Day.

I close with another quote from Major General Patrick Cammart. Putting the responsibility in the hands of the UN, he testified that:

"You [the United Nations] have the responsibility to protect them
and to take real and effective measures to put an end to this."

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Blogger emma said...

I am speechless with horror...

Blogger Buffy said...

Wow. Words fail me.

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