in the west-african country of Guinea last week, an unarmed crowd of political protestors numbering about 50,000 was fired upon and violently disbanded by governmental military forces. depending on the source, between 50 and 150 people were killed.
"Cellphone snapshots, ugly and hard to refute, are circulating here and feeding rage: they show that women were the particular targets of the Guinean soldiers..."
particular attention was paid to dehumanizing and violating women during the clash. witnesses state that at least 6-10 women were beaten, gang-raped and/or brutally attacked (whipped, stabbed, clubbed).
this strategy, of course, is not new. secretary of state hillary clinton addressed the UN Security Council last week and the council passed a resolution condemning rape as a weapon of war.
but what is going to be done to halt the use of this weapon? will there be any funding to back up the UN's resolution? with more than 200,000 women raped in the congo alone, frankly, this weapon is proving to be more dangerous to the world's population than nuclear weapons have been to date. why isn't there a UN sanctioned and funded watchdog group like the IAEA going into wartorn countries and calling international attention to the atrocities being committed against women every day? putting pressure on world powers to bring economic and social powers to bear against countries that allow this weapon to be used freely? reducing the proliferation of this deadly weapon across the globe, just as nuclear arms proliferation is carefully controlled?
rape is epidemic, systemic and, as research clearly shows, completely destructive to the fabric of a community.
"Community leaders noted that the frequent and extreme brutality committed with impunity during wave after wave of armed occupation has resulted in the disintegration of the moral and social fabric in many localities. Social stigma has left large numbers of rape victims and children born of rape rejected by their families and communities. Many cases of HIV and other infections remain untested and untreated. Fear of going to fields and markets--sites where rapes often take place--has resulted in spiraling malnutrition and economic loss. Widespread criminal impunity and inadequate local and regional governance leave communities without the means to reduce the violence."
communities are wiped out by rape as weapon of war, just as surely as they would be by weapons of mass destruction. in fact, rape SHOULD be considered a WMD. it clearly creates mass casualties in its wake; but to date, rape has not been a priority on the worldwide security agenda.
(i'll give you one guess who's in the majority at the highest levels of world leadership/governance?)