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Ban Ki Moon calls for independent inquiry into use of rape as weapon in African wars



12-year-old girl, displaced by conflict in Darfur region of Sudan, was raped by government soldiers

7 August 2009 – Warning that rape is being used as a weapon of war with the same efficient brutality as a gun or a grenade, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on the Security Council to set up an independent commission of inquiry into such abuses in the conflicts in Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Sudan.

Such a panel, supported by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, should recommend to the Council “the most effective mechanisms to ensure accountability for these egregious crimes,” he told the 15-member body at the start of a day-long debate on women and peace and security.

“Despite some progress over two decades, the deliberate targeting of civilians through acts of sexual violence continues on a widespread and systematic basis,” Mr. Ban declared, also citing abuses perpetrated by the rebel Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Sudan, Central African Republic, Uganda and the DRC.

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A Different Kind Of Victim

Every day of late I have been reading in the papers about Michael Jackson’s alleged abuse of children, other days I have been reading about women who have been raped, in my p

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COLOUR CODE | No Country For Women

Aneesh A comments from The Times of India:

A person who kills a brown-skinned man is no less a murderer than someone who kills a white-skinned man. The same dictum applies for rape.

After an American girl was gang-raped in Mumbai, there seems to be a certain section of our ever-so-patriotic society that feels that the white woman's violation is being unjustly sensationalised. They think that if her skin had been a little more tanned and if her screams had an Indian twang to it, the case wouldn't receive the kind of attention it got. It reaffirms the hopelessness of humanity when a girl gets violated and instead of feeling ashamed and angry and questioning exactly how much divinity we all have within us, we are more interested in casting aspersions on the 'character' of the victim, investigating if 'she had it coming', and protesting that the violated brown woman didn't get as much media space as the violated white woman. Perhaps, the act of rape itself has no more shock value left in it.  It shouldn't come as a surprise in a nation where a celebrity husband getting zipped down by his celebrity wife on a fashion show ramp earns more ire than men who rape and assault women.

It is undeniably true that the profusion of molesters and rapists in the country would not be possible without the patriarchal trinity of the police, the courts and various state governments. And, undoubtedly, the biggest token of gratitude should go to the word 'allegedly' and its variations that the media and the officials efficiently inculcate into their vernacular.

Thanks to this word a giant land mammal with big ears, tusks, a trunk and pillar-like legs will remain an 'alleged' elephant until enough evidence is provided before a court of law. How can some men get their minds around the complex working of a car engine, the fastidious rules of various sports and still not realise there is no excuse for rape? There's one thing that needs to be hammered into their rock-like skulls: It doesn't matter if a girl is drunk or over-flirtatious. If she doesn't want you to be with her, then you have no right to even lay a finger on her. End of discussion.

And if you feel otherwise, then you are suffering from a serious case of cerebral malfunction. Allegedly, of course.

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Betty Bowers explains Marriage in the Bible

 I love this lady, I really do.  She makes even the most arbitrary collection of gobbledygook and delusional ravings of sun-cooked lunatics seem like the mere simplistic hypocrisy that it is.

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Sudan: Darfuri Woman Refugees 'Live in Fear of Rape'

From allAfrica.com

Darfuri women who have fled as refugees to Chad live in fear of being raped and as a result ostracized by their families, says a new study.

The study, based on interviews with 88 women in Farchana Camp in eastern Chad, found that 17 of the women had been raped, some more than once. Researchers said they believed another 12 women had probably suffered rape, although they were often reluctant to speak about it or were unconscious when it had happened.

The study was carried out by Physicians for Human Rights in partnership with Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. The results were published on Sunday.

“War crimes of killings, destruction of livelihoods and forced expulsion from Darfur have… left [women] in a state of perpetual vulnerability and need for the most basic elements of human survival,” the study added. Although what had happened in Darfur “persists as a terrible memory,” the women had not found safety in Chad.

Compelled to leave the camp to collect fuel so they could cook, they ran the risk of rape in doing do. “What most concerns the women interviewed… is the oppressive environment of insecurity they must endure on a daily basis,” the study said.

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Rapes Soar in Eastern Congo's Culture of Impunity

Over at Women's eNews, I found this story about rampant violence upon women.  The lives of human beings are being destroyed by conflict that is fueled and sustained by the actions and inactions of developed nations and corporations.  Which companies' products are we buying that take advantage of this misery?  What politicians and government agencies in our country are knowingly allowing this to happen?  When we are shopping for something made from an illegal mine in this country, how many women are being raped?


By Dominique Soguel
WeNews correspondent

Military operations and rebel reprisals in eastern Congo have fueled a rise in sexual violence this year, but perpetrators face minimal consequences. An effort to drive out rebel groups has only contributed to the problem. The second of four stories.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WOMENSENEWS)--Advocacy groups are calling for an end to the legal culture of impunity surrounding the mass rapes in the conflict zone of eastern Congo.

Justice is an uphill battle in a region where Rwanda's 1994 genocide, which killed an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus, have left smoldering political and ethnic enmities that are shifted and stoked by brutal competition for the region's mineral resources.

North and South Kivu, two lakeside provinces, have regularly witnessed armed fighting since the breakdown of a January 2008 comprehensive peace agreement. And that fighting is routinely carried out not only by armed men, but on women's bodies as well.

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Male cleansers for hire - The dangerous practice of 'widow cleansing' is starting to come out into the open

From Angela Robson at  The New Internationalist:

Healthy conversation: a group of men discuss the taboo of widow  cleansing and (left)former cleanser Esban Ochanga.

Healthy conversation: a group of men discuss the taboo of widow cleansing and (left)former cleanser Esban Ochanga. Photo: Frederic Courbet


The men sitting in the shade of a large thorn tree on the outskirts of Kano-Angola village, 10 miles inland from the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya’s Nyanza province, are in buoyant spirits today. There is bravado, there are lewd jokes, but there are also long periods of silence.

One man in particular commands attention. As soon as he begins to talk, the rest of the group listen deferentially. Esban Ochanga is tall and slender with a far-away look in his eyes. He has called the men together to talk about the practice of widow cleansing, whereby Luo women, after the death of their spouse, are pressurized into having unprotected sex; ostensibly to allow their husband’s spirit to roam free in the afterlife. It is a tradition rarely spoken about in public. ‘I knew my brother had died and they told me it was AIDS, but I thought a Luo could not die because of that virus,’ says Ochanga. ‘So I cleansed his widow and I contracted HIV. That is what killed my first wife.’

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My Rape Story

I read an excellent piece on 'Not Rape" today, by Latoya Peterson from Yes means Yes.  It stirred me.  So, here is a piece I wrote about my own life that was posted at The National Gadfly, not long after I began the journey to create this site.

I was 12 or 13 years old, back in '72 or '73.   It was summer.  I played outside with my friends and did whatever young boys do, with time on their hands and no supervision.  My friend Bob and I were outside goofing around.  We ran into Jimmy, a man that lived in the neighborhood.  He was tall, thin, had a mustache and long hair, in his late 20's or early 30's.  He often said hello to me as he walked by.  Bob and I saw him and we got to talking.  There was a forest preserve across the street from my house, where I often played.  As we walked along talking, we entered the woods. I had no reason to be suspicious.   I was always in those woods.

Somehow, Jimmy and I became separated from Bob.  We were alone in the woods.  He told me that he wanted to tell me a joke, but that we should go further up the hill, away from the path.  Once we were away from the path by a good measure, he told me that he wanted me to "do him a favor".  I had become nervous, but I was too frightened to move.  I feared that I might upset him if I did.  I began to think in my mind as to how I might control this situation.  But, I was not the one in control.

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