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Need: PLEASE HELP -Offering comfort and support for sexual assault survivors in Sudan

Through my recent training with our local rape crisis center, it has become apparent to me the critical role that sexual assault advocates play in the lives of the survivors. As much as I was overjoyed and thrilled with the idea of being at the crisis phone line to be of service and comfort, something deep inside me was gnawing at the flesh of my soul: I thought about the women of Sudan. I also thought about the many obstacles that face survivors of sexual assault in my culture.
My culture is a culture that glorifies patriarchy so much that the idea of women asking for their rights still continues to be a source of unease. For example, when women took to the streets during the Sudan Revolts protests that took place in Khartoum during June-July of last year, many people have expressed outrage on the idea of women leaving their homes (the traditionally accepted place for a woman) and doing “what men are supposed to be doing”. And as if asking for freedom and an end to dictatorship is only a man's area of expertise, many women have not found sympathy when they were harassed or sexually assaulted by the NISS .There is so much that can be said about the NISS, the least is that they use oppressive sexual insults against female activists to curb dissent. I see them as an extension of the same practice of wartime rape against the women in Darfur. Many women are suffering silently through this traumatizing experience, and whether they are in Darfur or in Khartoum, they are bound by the same obstacles that keep them silent, and further away from reaching their full recovery potential.
The NISS are a group of individuals who hold archaic views not only about women, but also medieval ideas regarding the need to maintain brutal interpretation of the so-called Sharia Laws. It is quite disheartening that their impunity and ability to oppress women are given power by the deeply rooted patriarchy, and culturally accepted gender norms, which disturbingly justifies their shameful practices. Their other source of power is relying on the silence of women, since they are aware of the obstacles a woman would face if she chose to speak about her ordeal.
Through my training at the rape crisis center, I was inspired to reach out and give women an outlet to speak out against their ordeals. I would really like to introduce crisis lines in support of women that have gone through the trauma of sexual assault. I know that this fight is a challenging one for many reasons:
- The issue of conflict zone rape in Darfur can be misunderstood as an attempt to politicize the issue for a certain tribal or political agenda. This causes a woman’s personal trauma to be taken as a political issue and shifts the focus away from the needs of the survivor.
- Due to the sexual nature of the crime of rape, it is often women who are seen as the perpetrators of their own assaults, either because they were seen as dressed inappropriately, or out late at night. Thus, the blame is placed on them. This shifts the attention from the perpetrator, towards the victim, which is something that is facilitated by cultural norms and patriarchy.
- The NISS enjoy the privilege of impunity because of the existence of Public Order Laws, which allow their interpretation to be entirely up to the NISS, and allows for a lax application of these laws. This shows that the law is not on the women’s side.
- The cultural norms that are enforced in the lives of Sudanese women can create a huge obstacle and be an agent of fear, which can prevent women from seeking help.
- The cultural conceptions about “honor” and chastity add more to the trauma and further internalize a woman’s oppression of herself. A woman who was sexually assaulted is seen as a “slut”, and this view is not only imposed by the culture, but is also internalized and accepted by women themselves.
Having discussed these challenges, I feel even more inspired to be engaged with the World Pulse community in order to find suitable solutions, and to achieve my dream of starting crisis line networks to help women. I want women to find an outlet and a safe space where they can feel comfortable telling their stories. I also would like women to feel empowered and encouraged to seek help and not suffer in silence. That is why I call upon all of you, to reach out and help me in this endeavor. I look forward to your valuable suggestions, visions, feedback, and any support you are able to give. Together we are ever stronger, and ever louder!

Anab Mohamed
anab.mohamed87j9@gmail.com

Comments

estelle's picture

such a good project my dear.

such a good project my dear. keep up and all the best

radiocami's picture

I'd like to add to this the

I'd like to add to this the women of the Congo who have been targeted specifically with sex crimes throughout their awful war. My prayers are with all of them.
Perhaps you can share more of what you've learned in your training and experience and more of us can lend an ear and support to those who need it around the world. How about an online hotline where supporters can listen and help from anywhere in the world?

valerie camila rhodes

anab87j9's picture

Hello Valerie: Thank you. Sex

Hello Valerie:
Thank you. Sex crimes are indeed a terrible burden for a woman to bear, specially in my country where law and culture and society place the burden of the crime on the woman.
I would love to share the experience I have had so far in terms of my training and even teach people how to listen to survivors of sex crimes. Listening is underestimated and people often times are quick to jump to their own biases and judgements.
I also appreciate your idea about the online hotline where people for example can volunteer to listen to rape survivors share their stories, or even volunteer psychological counselors who can use their expertise to help these women! I think for starters this is a brilliant idea!

Love,
Anab

PeopleWeaver's picture

Women of Courage

I wish I had wisdom to speak to this problem, instead I can only offer you encouragement. You obviously have an excellent understanding and knowledge of the horrible situation. We are well-written.

You said "I want women to find an outlet and a safe space where they can feel comfortable telling their stories. I also would like women to feel empowered and encouraged to seek help and not suffer in silence." Do you mean online, a special section on World Pulse or somewhere like World Pulse? Are most of the women isolated?

Jeanne
www.peopleweaver.org

anab87j9's picture

Dear Jeanne: Thank you so

Dear Jeanne:

Thank you so much for your encouragement. I really want there to be a safe space, as in a physical space where women can come in and share their accounts and receive the help they need in terms of counseling. However, I have come to find that the government in my country is actively seeking closure of centers that they see as having the potential of enlightenment. I have learned from Ms. Yosra Akasha, a sister here on WP, that there was once a center called Amal Center to help survivors of torture, but it was closed after the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Bashir. And right now there has been intense closures and clamp down on centers like these. I guess another challenge besides culture is politics. This is indeed sad, and discouraging, but I am sure when great minds are put together, they will beat any barriers.

To answer your question about women's isolation, yes they are isolated because there is no outreach to them, and they don't know where to turn.

surfgirl-CA's picture

great idea

Hi, Anab ~ what kinds of help wld you like to have, specifically?

Also, do you know about how crisis lines and safe centers work? If not, you cld intern at or interview the managers of some. I'd be happy to try to hook you up w/ the ones in my town, to chat by phone. Universities usually have them as well, for women at least.

Please tell us more. (-;

surfgirl-CA --
When we come from the willingness to love, not fear, we will see the best and highest materialize in our world.
Quand nous venons à partir de la volonté à l'amour, pas la peur, nous allons voir le meilleur et le plus élevé se matérialise

anab87j9's picture

Dear Tina: I think for

Dear Tina:

I think for starters that would be such a great way to learn more. I have recently applied to serve on the committee on Domestic violence, and I am keeping my fingers crossed because I want to learn more about the amazing work that is being done and how they operate.

Please do hook me up!!! AT this point, I want to look at this project from all possible angles. I will update the post with more information, as I talk to more of you wonderful people and get more ideas!

Thanx <3

Anab

Brigitte Mawazo Kyalondawa's picture

prenez courage

Lorsque vous devenez indesirable,je realise que vous arrivez a l'objectif.
les intimidations des politiciens ne servent a rien

BRIGITTE MAWAZO

Debra K Adams MA's picture

Anab - contact me

I agree with every thing you stated above. Survivors need a safe space. What that looks like may need to begin on a less public level. Please see my Intro http://worldpulse.com/user/17311

contact me privately and we should talk! I am a strong supporter of self empowerment strategies, see my website www.sisses.net. I am willing to share with you some ideas I have for you, based on my 20 years of experience of working hotlines & shelter for survivors of DV/SA, to begin your journey!

"Be the change you want in the world." Gandhi

Debra K. Adams, MA
See my vizify bio! https://www.vizify.com/debra-k-adams-ma-pdv-cws
Survivors In Service: Self Empowerment Strategies (SiSSeS)
Consultant/Speaker/Author & Owner/Founder

louise.toohey's picture

This is something I ...

This is something I am interested in

anab87j9's picture

Thank you for reaching out to

Thank you for reaching out to me! I really appreciate your interest. At this point I am working on studying all aspects of this project, and learning as much as I could. I can't wait for this to come true!

louise.toohey's picture

Me too

Me too I will hope for the best for you

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