August 12, 2013 Leave a comment
If you are anything like me, you first viewed the term “rape as a war weapon” with a bit of bewilderment. A number of documentaries, books and articles would speak of ending this inhuman practice but not go so far as to really define it. After all, I thought, if you asked a woman who had been both a victim of rape and a victim of “rape as a war weapon” wouldn’t she probably say that she couldn’t tell the difference? Rape is rape. Shouldn’t we be aiming to end the commonality of sexual assaults in Darfur (and other African regions) in general and not waste time separating them into categories? But the intended effect of rape as an instrument of war, or more accurately, an instrument of genocide, involves generational devastation to entire populations. A 2004 study by Tara Gingerich, JD, MA and Jennifer Leaning, MD, SMH, finds the method aims to:
- Create a sense of fear in the civilian population in order to restrict freedom of movement and economic activity.
- Instill flight to facilitate the capture of land and the killing of male civilians.
- Demoralize the population and force exit from the land.
- Tear apart the community and pollute blood lines.
Despite many similar studies from both NGOs and government agencies attempting to form accurate statistics on the number of women raped in Darfur, there appears to be, almost literally, countless numbers. It has been overwhelmingly expressed that:
We have no clear idea about the number of women and girls who have been raped in Darfur, in part because of the extraordinary reticence-for cultural and religious reasons-on the part of the women assaulted. (src) Read more of this post