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War , rape, how much more can they take!!!

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Abayo Hassan sits outside her tent in Daadab, pensive, wondering what tomorrow holds, will someone attack her and maybe succeed this time round? What about her children, what will happen to them now that they can’t go to school because she is scared for their lives?

These are just a few questions that run through her mind and maybe in the minds of many refugee women in camps all over the world. Abayo fled war-torn Mogadisho five months ago after armed men broke into her house while they were sleeping and killed her husband as she watched together with her teenage daughter.

“My daughter just stood there like a zombie after it all happened, she didn’t cry or speak for days on” said Abayo. That is when she together with her four children fled Mogadishu and after five days of hitchhiking and torturous walking they reached the Kenyan-Somali border where they were taken to the Daadab refugee camp.

When she got into the camp, she was allocated a small piece of land and Abayo thought she could now settle down and continue with her life, but this was not to be. One sunday night at 2 am she work up top find her house filled with flames and when she called for help, no one came to her rescue.

“I kept on screaming for my neighbours to help me and my children but no one came, and I realized I was living amongst people who didn’t want me” lamented Abayo.

Abayo suspected that the people who burnt her house come from a rival clan that was involved in her husbands killing. They wanted to eliminate her and her children because according to them, they belonged to a minority clan that has been targeted for a while by other Somalis.

Slowly she rebuilt her house in a bid to rebuild her life, but a few days after that a man attacked her daughter and when she tried to save her, he raped her, beat her up and left her to die.

After this she had to be transferred to a transition camp which is much safer for her. Abayo is still traumatized by the event, she pulled her children out of school and all she can do is wait for a miracle to happen , so that she can be resettle far away from other Somalis.

Abayo’s story is not unique, women in conflict areas are very vulnerable to sexual and gender based violence. Not only do they have to deal with the burden of losing the family and property and lose of stability but they also deal with sexual violence.

Why women are targets to such heinous acts even after all they go through as a result of war?
This is a question we need to find a quick answer too before many more women fall prey!!!

Lets talk !!!

Comments

jadefrank's picture

women in conflict areas

Linda,

Thank you for bringing attention to this issue and for sharing the story of Abayo, just one of so many women who fall victim to this type of violence, abuse and discrimination in conflict zones. It's devastating and you're so right - we need to find a solution quickly. What are your ideas for combating this type of violence against women?

Warm regards,
Jade

LOGWELL's picture

women in conflict areas

Hi Jade,

Thank you for showing interest i this matter. Indeed we need to put our heads together and find out what can be done to combat sexual gender based violence in conflict zones. This is slowly becoming an "epidemic" in war tone areas but there is a "loud "silence around us. Some organizations like CARE International provide counselling and pyscho-social support for refugee women in camps like Daadab. However how can we make women less vulnerable to this attach. Maybe we could share ideas on this?!!

TUMAINI's picture

Women and Armed Conflict

Interesting topic and one that is close to my heart. I have the same sentiments and thoughts as you. When faced with such scenarios, its very easy to feel disillusioned and simply like it is just too much. My thoughts wander in every direction, what can I do, will my prayers avail much? But my mama always taught prayer without action is simply not good enough. You need to take a step of faith and ACT.

Well I know with the situation in Congo, you can certainly do the following:

The women of Eastern Congo, V-Day and UNICEF—the latter acting on behalf of United Nations Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict—are launching a new campaign to urge an end to the femicide and raise money for women’s groups in the Congo. You can;

Write a letter addressed to His Excellency, the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Joseph Kabila Kabange; demand that he take action to stop the attacks on women. Send it to U.N. Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict, P.O. Box 3862, New York, NY 10163, and it will be delivered to Kabila.
Donate directly to Panzi Hospital through vday.org.

Im sure the same could be done for other countries that are going through the same situation. Otherwise we can also go websites such as Amnesty International to see how we can help.

Also don’t underestimate the power of spreading the word through social networking sites, asking friends and colleagues to join in and support this important cause. Well this could just be the start.

Personally I believe that if countries strengthen the national judicial institutions established to uphold the Rule of Law, this may be part of the soultion. The Rule of Law, is simply the backbone of society for it preserves the security and internal well being that society requires to function and to helps society from spiraling into lawlessness and ultimately civil destruction.

But instead during peace time what we have is individuals,mostly women and children unprotected by, or routinely disregarded or marginalized under the Rule of Law.

If under national jurisdictions sexual assaults have been traditionally proscribed, but prosecution rarely follows, then how can women reasonably expect protection under international criminal law? The trial process does not guarantee a conviction of the accused. Prosecutors are only too aware of the witnesses’ stress in reliving painful events and confronting their aggressors. If during peace time the Rule of Law was established and guilty parties prosecuted, immunity should not even be an option.

Another inter-linked issue is poverty. You cannot ignore this factor. I know when the attacks began in Kenya in last years election, what society was confronting were youth who simply looked at their circumstances and saw they have nothing to lose. You have young men, old men who feel relegated to the sidelines by society. They have no jobs, no form of security and the future looks bleak to them. Their hopes have simply been dashed, and they will back any cause and spare no thought to weho gets hurt in the process. After all, who was there to listen to them when they were confronted with their problems. And unless these systemic issues are addressed, they simply taken on an aggravated form of savagery during armed conflict.

Kind regards,
TUMAINI

LOGWELL's picture

Hi Tumaini we seem to share a

Hi Tumaini

we seem to share a passion for fighting violence against women in conflict areas and thank you for your very insightful contribution. I am impressed by the how it is being handled in Eastern Congo. Indeed Rule of Law is important and thats why I get worried when I see legislators in Kenya taking there time to pass any bill that concerns women. Social networking like World Pulse is a brilliant idea that helps us put our thoughts and aspirations forward. It is only when we let these issues out and known to the world that they can be addressed.

Interesting!!! I hope we keep on talking on this issue Tumaini.

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