Men Dressed as Women Attack Darfur Female Students

Shocking occurrence in Khartoum…

A group of Darfur female students, discussing the International Criminal Court’s indictment of Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, were attacked by male members of the National Congress Party (NCP) disguised in women’s clothes to “infiltrate” the setting.

Bashir, who has been indicted on war crimes and crimes against humanity, is a leader of the NCP.

Under Sudanese law, women are entitled to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly on campus.

Wow…that’s all I can say right now.

“Trapped in Places of Perpetual Insecurity”

A recent study conducted by US-based Physicians for Human Rights reports that over 50% of Darfuri women at a refugee camp in Chad continue to feel threatened by sexual violence.

Many of these women experienced rape in Darfur, fleeing to Chad to escape suffering. Yet in Chad, their place of refuge, sexual violence is alive and well.

According to the deputy director of Physicians for Human Rights –

The women live in a nightmare of memories of past trauma compounded by the constant threat of sexual violence around the camps now…trapped in places of perpetual insecurity.

Regarding mass rape in Darfur, Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir maintains that “there is no document or evidence, just accusations”.

Kristof Discusses Rape

Nicholas Kristof’s latest op-ed discusses rape – a weapon of war which often outlasts the war itself.

Put simply by Kristof –

Even when the fighting ends, the rape continues.

Sexual violence plagues several areas ripped apart by war – Congo, Sudan, Bosnia, Rwanda, Liberia – leaving a lasting impact on women, girls, men, boys, and children born out of such a crude violation of one’s rights as a human being.

A police officer from Liberia was interviewed as part of Kristof’s column. His words stayed with me –

Rape is a scar that the war left behind.

Darfur’s Mothers

This past Sunday, we celebrated Mother’s Day.

Stop Genocide Now has gathered together testimonies of Darfurian mothers.

Some quotes which stood out –

Sometimes…I get together with friends to tell stories about Darfur, about the way life used to be…we keep telling stories, until, sometimes, we weep.

My children are my only hope.

I thank God for everything. It is part of life. We are still alive.

Please always put us in front of you, don’t let us fall behind.

The mother behind the first quote? Fourteen-year-old Farha – caretaker of three siblings.

The Greatest Silence – DRC’s Women Find Their Voice

tsFrom the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange –

Since 1998, a brutal war has been raging in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Over 4 million people have died. And there are the uncountable casualties: the many tens of thousands of women and girls who have been systematically kidnapped, raped, mutilated and tortured by soldiers from both foreign militias and the Congolese army.

The world knows nothing of these women. Their stories have never been told. They suffer and die in silence. In The Greatest Silence, these brave women finally speak.

The film will be presented by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange on Friday, June 5th, at 6:30pm. Join the viewing and discussion afterwards. There is no fee to participate.

Protecting Darfur’s Women

Photograph by Stop Genocide Now

African Union – UN hybrid peacekeeping mission UNAMID has teamed up with the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) to push a new initiative aimed at empowering the women of Darfur.

Efforts will go towards achieving gender equality – both politically and economically – and putting an end to sexual and gender-based violence.

It is important for us to note that women empowerment in Darfur also means girl empowerment as several of the victims of rapes, beatings, and discrimination have yet to even reach adulthood.

The Most Dangerous Place for Women

As part of its Raise Hope for Congo campaign, the Enough Project has released the ten reasons why Eastern Congo is the most dangerous place on earth for women.

The ten reasons include the following –

  1. Predatory security forces
  2. Lawless militias
  3. A culture of impunity
  4. The resource curse
  5. Poverty
  6. A collapsed health care system
  7. Internal displacement
  8. A failing education system
  9. Gender inequality and cultural barriers

Former UN Deputy Force Commander, speaking of Congo –

It is more dangerous to be a woman than to be a soldier right now.

Congolese woman, speaking of her role in society –

My job is to beg.                                                                                                  

Click here to learn more about the International Violence Against Women Act and sign a petition urging Congress to vote in favor of it.