Official statistics on how many women and children have been victims of sexual violence and rape in various “hot” wars around the world are extremely difficult to come by. The high number of under reported cases makes it almost impossible to form a definitive number to the scourge. What can be said, without doubt however, is that rape in war is a massive problem and that rape is used as a weapon by various state and non-state participants.
The efforts to support peace and bring an end to conflict needs to be further enhanced and pushed forward.
Governments fueling conflicts for material needs have to be held accountable.
But at the same time, the vicious behaviour meted out against women and children and at times even men in the form of rape proliferates in the conflict zones. The least that can be done is to form structures and put in place systems to care for these vulnerable people.
It with this in mind that Salaamedia launched the #Survivor Campaign, to raise awareness and support to trauma centres and orphan care amongst three of the most difficult, violence affected communities of the world: the Rohingya in Bangladesh, Syrians in Turkey and refugees from the Central African Republic.
Central Africa Republic
A Human Rights Watch report, “‘They Said We Are Their Slaves,’ Sexual Violence by Armed Groups in the Central African Republic,” documents 305 cases of rape and sexual slavery carried out against 296 women and girls by members of armed groups between early 2013 and mid-2017.
Josephine, 28, said she fled her home in Bangui with her husband and five young children due to fighting in the city in October 2014. When she returned to her neighborhood to collect clothes and dishes for the family, three anti-balaka stopped her and took her to a compound, where they raped her with a broken beer bottle. “When they pushed it in, blood flowed out and I lost consciousness,” she said. “After, they went in the neighborhood and said, ‘We stopped a wife of Muslims.’” Following the rape, her husband called her “a wife of the anti-balaka” and eventually they separated. Josephine said she suffers constant headaches, and is haunted by memories of the violence. (Human Rights Watch)
Fifteen-year-old Hala Sadak, from Hathi Para village in Maungdaw Township, said soldiers stripped her naked and then dragged her from her home to a nearby tree where, she estimates, about 10 men raped her from behind. She said, “They left me where I was…when my brother and sister came to get me, I was lying there on the ground, they thought I was dead.” (Human Rights Watch)
Zahira was 45 when she was arrested at her workplace in a suburb of Damascus in 2013. As soon as she arrived at Al Mezzeh Military Airport, she was strip searched, tied to a bed and gang raped by five soldiers.
For the next 14 days, she was raped, or threatened with rape, again and again and again. During one interrogation, in which she says she was sexually penetrated in “every body cavity”, a soldier filmed what was happening and threatened to show it to her family and community. (independent.co.uk)
Working with organisations on the ground in the respective regions the aim of this campaign, beyond awareness is to support and establish trauma and orphan care centres for surviving women and children.
These centres are places of hope and a new beginning. Unfortunately they are highly under-resourced and even ignored as the emergency relief needs take prominence. But you can touch a life.
To make a contribution:
Account: Salaam Foundation
Account no: 62669147665
Reference: women (lillah/zakaat)
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