Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Silence is the Enemy

This post will be unpleasant. It is meant to be. I'm sure some of you know what I have gone through, and that it is difficult for me to write about rape. But my discomfort in writing, and anyone's discomfort in reading pales in comparison to what women and girls are living daily. For their sake, educate yourself, speak out, donate. Our eyes need opening.

There is an online movement happening to raise awareness and action to end the systematic rape of women and girls. While we seek to end all rape, the main focus of this movement is to end the rape of the majority of females in the war-torn countries of Liberia and the Congo, where rape was used as a tactic of war. As Dr. Denis Mukwege explains, in a column penned by Bob Herbert :

“Once they have raped these women in such a public way,” he said, “sometimes maiming them, destroying their sexual organs — and with everybody watching — the women themselves are destroyed, or virtually destroyed. They are traumatized and humiliated on every level, physical and psychological. That’s the first consequence.

“The second consequence is that the whole family and the entire neighborhood is traumatized by what they have seen. The ordinary sense of family and community is lost after a man has been forced to watch his wife being raped, or parents are forced to watch the rape of their daughters, or children see their mothers raped.

“Neighbors are witnesses to this. Many flee. Families are dislocated. Social relationships are lost. There is no more social network, village network. Not only the victims have been destroyed; the whole village is destroyed.”
Women and girls are being sexually mutilated: raped so severely they will never bear children, cannot walk for months, have permanent incontinence. Some have been raped to death. And those are just the physical scars. It began as a tactic of war, and continues long after the wars have ended. It is estimated that in Eastern Congo, 1,100 women are raped a month. One thousand one hundred. In some regions, it is rare to find a female who has not been raped.

What You Can Do

Educate yourself:
Participate in Silence is the Enemy:
For too long, rape has been a subject relegated to whispers and innuendo. This silence has placed victims into a realm of shame and isolation, though we are many. This silence has allowed rapists to ruin lives with impunity. Do not stigmatize victims or empower rapists, rapist sympathizers and rape apologists: Refuse to be silent. We will be heard.

1 comment:

M said...

I love you for posting this. And will do what little I can. Even if it's just FB for now. xoxoxo THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for posting this. You are amazing. xoxo