As AllAfrica and the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights lay out in all too stark detail, the situation for women in Somalia is truly perilous:
“Sexual violence remains part of daily life for many women living in camps for internally displaced people.
According to the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, after years of war rape has become a threat to women in Somalia whenever they move along roads, due to the presence of militia at illegal roadblocks and in IDP settlements such as Galkayo, which hosts about 50,000 persons.
The All China Women’s Federation (ACWF) has released a study that finds that domestic violence complaints were up 70% last year. The study also found that women who migrated from rural to urban areas were more likely to have experienced personal violence.
“A survey conducted by the ACWF in 2006 showed that 11.6 percent of the female respondents in rural areas said they had fought with their husbands during the previous year, while the proportion rose to 13.5 percent concerning women who came from the countryside but are now working in the cities.
“Female migrant workers are restricted in accessing legal assistance as they are constantly on the move,” Jiang said. “For example, divorce is more costly for them in China to use as a way to escape from family violence than women from urban areas.””
While Saudi Prince Saud al-Faisal has issued a statement saying that the sentencing of the woman who was gang raped will be reviewed, it is clear that he still doesn’t get it,
“”What is outraging about this case is that it is being used against the Saudi government and people,” he said without elaborating.”
Well allow me to elaborate. What is outrageous is a country that so severely restricts women’s rights and punishes them for being the victim. Could go on and on here, but the subject has already been addressed quite thoroughly in the last few weeks.
I have written about this several times now and have gotten a number of responses to the effect that why aren’t feminists saying anything, feminists should take the lead, yada yada.
First of all, feminists all over the globe are speaking out, a simple search will bear that out. But WTF–why the presumption that feminists should lead the charge. Isn’t misogynist violence something that all of us should be outraged about? Just because the victim of a human rights violation is a woman means that it is solely a feminist responsibility to speak out?
Second disturbing response, and this took place primarily over at Alternet when they reposted one of my blog entries–the comments are almost entirely about oil and whether or not Islam is a terrible religion–the misogyny is simply dismissed as incidental. This is something I have seen over and over again on topics such as this, where the violence against women is invisibilized and dismissed as not being the ‘real’ issue. And every time it happens, that violence is once again enabled by psuedo-liberals who are waiting for feminists to take the lead…
For those of you who have asked what can you do–write your elected officials, call the White House, and also see this post at WLUML for addresses of Saudi officials.
Yet another horrific example of the culture of impunity that allows violence against women to flourish:
According to a report from the Inter Press Service, in the last 7 years there have been nearly 140,000 domestic violence complaints in Guatemala.
“In that period, there have also been 6,025 reported cases of rape and 3,281 women have been murdered, according to official statistics in Guatemala, which has one of the highest homicide rates in Latin America and is the focus of concern from human rights groups because of the large number of women killed in a climate of impunity.”
“Unfortunately, in Guatemala, killing a woman is like killing a fly; no importance is assigned to it,” complained local activist Hilda Morales, who argued that “the perpetrators are encouraged to continue beating, abusing and killing because they know that nothing will happen, that they won’t be punished.”
All Africa has an excellent piece about violence against women in post-conflict Sierra Leone which provides an important example of how the violence against women that is exacerbated by military conflict continues long after the conflict itself ends:
“In a 1 November report Amnesty International said the legacy of the “unimaginable brutality” against women during the country’s 1991-2002 civil war feeds violence against them today. During the war, some 250,000 women and girls – about a third of the female population – were brutally raped, tortured and kept as sex slaves, the report said.