Women Turn Pain into Power

The tactic is simple:  if you really want to defeat and humiliate your enemy, gang rape their wives and daughters. By not being able to protect their women, their authority is undermined and their honor destroyed.  As Nicolas Kristof points out in “Half The Sky,”

“rape becomes a tool of war in conservative societies precisely because female sexuality is so sacred.”

The stories and videos on my blog can be very disturbing and sad, but those horrible things are happening to our sisters at this very moment. Being educated on these issues help us become aware and empowered. Use that power and education to make a difference and improve someone’s life.

Women have been silent for too long.  It is time for all women, young and old, to stand together as one.  It is not only our privilege, but our responsibility to help our sisters in areas of the world where they have little, if any, respect from men.

A quote that I like by Nadezhda Mandelstam, a Russian writer, illustrates my point:
I decided it is better to scream. Silence is the real crime against humanity.

So this is me screaming. Screaming to make some sort of difference. Screaming because I know that what is going on is wrong, and that I can’t be silent. Millions were killed in the Holocaust when the world was silent.  Together we can stop this, together our screams can and will be heard.

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Human Trafficking

“Men should have sex slaves” says female Kuwaiti politician from Kuwait City

If you want to read some unbelievable, read this article or this article. Both articles address what female politician, Salwa al Mutairi, was quoted saying on June 6th 2011. She stated that having sex slaves should be legal and that prisoners from war-torn countries, such as Chechnya, would make suitable concubines.

Sex traffickers target women and girls that are in conflict areas due to their vulnerable situations. Most of the time sex slave owners tell families that they will take their children to the city to make money. The family consents, and sends their daughter to the city to work. The money that she will make will feed the family.

DUBAI – Mariam, 16, relives the day her father in Baghdad sold her off as a domestic worker in one of the prosperous Gulf nations. Instead, she was forced into the sex trade.

“I was a virgin and didn’t understand what sex was. I was told that they [the traffickers] were going to get good money for my first night with an old local man who paid for my virginity. He was aggressive and hit me all the time.”
In Mariam’s case, she was taken to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and kept in a house with 20 young girls, all of them sex workers, she said.
Before she left Iraq, she and her three sisters were being cared for by her father. In November 2005, a member of a trafficking ring offered Mariam’s father an advance payment of US $6,000 for her, saying she would work for a family in Dubai. He was promised that his daughter would be returned to Iraq after finishing a one-year contract.
Mariam said she faced daily threats in Dubai from the traffickers, warning her not to try to leave. However, she managed to escape and is now back in Baghdad being looked after by a local NGO, the Organization for Women’s Freedom.

The teenager’s story is not uncommon. While accurate statistics are hard to come by, the Women’s Freedom NGO estimates that nearly 3,500 Iraqi women have gone missing since the US-led occupation of Iraq began in 2003 and that there is a high chance many have been traded for sex work. It says 25 percent of these women have been trafficked abroad since the start of 2006, many unaware of their fate.

People are desperate to get money to support their families … just to have something to eat. If the government does not act on this issue, more women will be abused outside Iraq,” Nuha Salim, spokeswoman for the NGO, said.

On October 26, 2006 a great article was published on sex traffickers. Material was taken directly from the article and is in the blog post above.

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Child Soliders

At this very moment, millions of children around the world not only are the victims of violent conflict and war but also have been forced to become child soldiers. The International Rescue Committee has described the systematic atrocities committed against the world’s children as no less than a slow “genocide” or “holocaust” that has yet to grab the world’s full attention and prompt an organized response

Moreover, a large number of these female victims of social chaos and violence become orphans and refugees, desperately struggling to survive the hunger, pain, and disease that terrorism, revolution, and war bring. These girls are easy prey in a cycle of abuse. Global
conflicts rob them of their childhood, humanity, and very lives. Sources estimate that over 300,000 children younger than 18 have been caught up in over 30 global conflicts. Of these, some 40 percent or 120,000 child soldiers are girls, whose plight is often unrecognized since international attention has largely focused on boy soldiers. Girls not only serve as active fighters but also perform other military functions, from intelligence and medical support to cleaning and cooking. Worse, a number of young—even prepubescent—girls become sex slaves to service the forces and/or are coerced into pseudomarriages with commanders of armed groups. Once militarized and hardened by brutality, young children of both sexes are often compelled to carry guns and kill—sometimes other children and even family members and relatives. In horrifying interviews, former child soldiers have revealed that they had no choice other than kill or be killed.

And because most child soldiers are unpaid and require less food, they provide quick, cheap fighter power on demand. With the proliferation of light but deadly arms,
even very young girls can serve as combat soldiers. In one report, a humanitarian
worker in Liberia in 2003, near the end of the 10-year civil war, reported seeing a “child soldier so small that the barrel of her gun was dragging on the ground.”

Information taken directly from this article.

The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers works to prevent the recruitment and use of children as soldiers, to secure their demobilisation and to ensure their rehabilitation and reintegration into society. To get involved and make a difference visit the coalition’s homepage.

 

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Protect the Children

Young boys throughout Afghanistan become victims of rape and violence every day. With the country in such hard times many people have turned to selling their young sons into Bacha Bazi. Boys are either sold or given to wealthy, powerful men at a young age and forced to dress in womans clothing and dance for the ‘master’ and his guests. The boys are repeatedly raped and beaten, treated not as human beings but as the property of their ‘master’. It is a horrible act that goes on every day in Afghanistan and nothing is done about it because even the military leaders and police officials partake in this sick event. This is modern day slavery and it’s happening to innocent children who have no one to help them because their own parents are the people who sent them into this life of pain. Even if a boy is lucky enough to escape his owner he will suffer for the rest of his life whether he is found and killed, or manages to not be found. If a boy escapes he will forever be branded as a bacha bareesh (man without a beard), a man who dances and dresses in womans clothing in a so-called homophobic country. Bacha Bazi came really came to the Afghan culture when the Russians came into Afghanistan and pushed the mujahideen back into Pakistan. When the people had nothing to do that’s when Bacha Bazi came along, and was brought back to Afghanistan with the people. When the Taliban took over Afghanistan they nearly stopped Bacha Bazi altogether until 2001 when Bacha Bazi exploded into an all time high. It seems an impossible fight to win, but these poor boys can’t have the world turn it’s back on them. Something needs to be done and if their own country won’t help them because it is so corrupt in itself, the rest of the world needs to step in and make an effort.

Information has been taken from the Facebook group “Stop Bacha Bazi in Afghanistan.” Join the group and take a stand to protect innocent children.

To learn more, or to sign a petition, go to the Change.org website

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This is Happening.

SHORTLY after the birth of her sixth child, Mathilde went with her baby into the fields to collect the harvest. She saw two men approaching, wearing what she says was the uniform of the FDLR, a Rwandan militia. Fleeing them she ran into another man, who beat her head with a metal bar. She fell to the ground with her baby and lay still. Perhaps thinking he had murdered her, the man went away. The other two came and raped her, then they left her for dead.

Mathilde’s story is all too common. Rape in war is as old as war itself. After the sack of Rome 16 centuries ago Saint Augustine called rape in wartime an “ancient and customary evil”. For soldiers, it has long been considered one of the spoils of war.

 

These are the women that are the victims of these atrocities

Their ages ranged from three to 80

Some were single, some married, some widows

They came from all ethnicities

They were raped in homes, fields and forests

They were raped in front of husbands and children

Almost 60% were gang-raped

Sons were forced to rape mothers, and killed if they refused

We need to be educated, we need to be aware, we need to create change

We are their only hope

Information taken from this article:

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Stop Female Genital Mutilation

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is an extremely dangerous, inhumane, and medically unnecessary procedure that affects nearly 170,000 girls and women in the United States, and 140 million around the world. FGM is a horrendous, excruciating, and life-threatening practice forced upon women and girls around the world, including countries such as Canada and the United States. FGM destroys the genitalia to conform to outrageous notions of chastity; indeed, part of FGM’s purpose is to prevent women from engaging in “illicit” sexual behavior. FGM often renders women incapacitated for routine urinary functions, and can severely limit or destroy their capacity to feel sexual pleasure. It can lead to severe infections, which can cause death if left untreated.

FGM is systematically forced upon women and girls anytime between infancy and marriage under varying justifications, including the enhancement of sexual pleasure for men and the preservation of family honor. NOW and other organizations, including Equality Now and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), believe that the practice is meant to limit women’s sexual pleasure and to maintain women’s second class status.

Information taken directly from this article.

The fact that this sort of thing is going on in the world today is unbelievable.  Until a few months ago, I had no idea that this sort of thing was happening. By reading the article and the links above, I hope that you are now more educated on this topic and will join us in the fight against FGM.   Check out NOW to donate and help eradicate the practice of FGM.


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No Rights for Women in Afghanistan

Did you know that 9 million Afghan women and girls have no human rights?

  • Women and girls are forbidden to go to school or work outside of the home.
  • Women and girls may not leave their homes without a male relative.
  • Women are forced to wear a head-to-toe covering called a “burqa” with only a small mesh opening through which to breathe and see.
  • Women have been beaten and killed for not being properly covered or escorted.
  • The windows of homes occupied by women must be painted to prevent women from being seen.
  • Health care for Afghan women and girls is virtually non-existent since male doctors may not care for female patients.
  • Women are forbidden from speaking in public.
  • Pubescent girls and women are prohibited from speaking to males who are not close relatives.

But progress is being made!!

Women’s lives in Afghanistan are changing and improving because of good people that are not afraid to make a difference. The Humanitarian Assistance for the Women and Children of Afghanistan (HAWCA) has recently opened a third Legal Centre for victims of domestic violence in Afghanistan. Through HAWCA’s hard work and determination, women that are abused will not have someone to turn where they can finally receive justice.

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