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