Mar 11, 2007

Violence against women continues

International Women's Day was couple of days ago, though I don't pay attention to days dedicated to a cause - Independence Day, Mother's Day - I decided to write about one of things that angers me most in this world, violence against women. Women around the world continue to face rape and sexual violence, honor killing and exploitation. Some of these crimes are so horrible that - I think - there's no banishment that could be enough for it, not even capital banishment.

Rape and sexual violence against women is on the increase in regional and sectarian conflicts, found a UN report last year:
A UN report prepared for the meeting found that systematic rape was a prominent feature of the conflicts in Bosnia-Hergovina, DR Congo, East Timor and Haiti, and is ongoing in the Darfur region of Sudan.

But rape has been used there as a weapon of war to impose the will of one people on another - as it was in previous conflicts such as those in Bosnia-Hercegovina and Rwanda, he says.

In Rwanda, officials estimate that 60,000 women were raped during the 1994 conflict, two-thirds of whom have been infected with HIV/Aids, the UNFPA believes.

In Bosnia, the figure is put at around 40,000.
In Southern Africa, traditional healers/witchdoctors tell their "customers" that raping young girls curs aids. The result is the most disgusting, vile and horrifying crimes possible, the rape of girls and babies, some as young as few months old. Many girls die either immediately, of injury or infection but those who survive are left with horrible disfigurements and HIV infection.

Equally horrible is the use of sulfuric acid to disfigure women - and even children - and often with horrible and irreversible health problems, a brutal and inhumane way to take revenge. This is more common in South Asia, though there are similar incident in Africa and elsewhere. Take the example of Hasina, from Bangladesh:
Hasina is 20 years old. Five years ago, when she was still a carefree high school pupil, an employee of her father who felt he had been slighted, threw sulphuric acid over her. Hasina was left with horrific scarring after an attack with sulphuric acid. The attack left her with terrible disfigurement to her face and chest.

"When I first saw my face in the mirror I said, 'God why did you keep me alive? It would be better that I died,'" she told us.

"But now I want to survive and live in society."
Hundreds of women are killed each year for family "honor"; in Indian, Jordan, Israel, Pakistan, Uganda, Pakistan ... etc. Many of the perpetrators either completely escape banishment or get light sentences, due to deep-rooted culture that doesn't see the crime in killing for ones honor.

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