Nicholas Kristof: Silence Is the Enemy
On my last trip to Congo, I was interviewing a rape victim and tried to give her a little privacy by stepping off and sitting under a tree with her. Then pretty soon a crowd of women came near, and I grew irritated at their voyeurism and asked them to leave. "We're all rape victims," the woman in front said. "We're all here to tell our stories."Tara C. Smith: Silence Is the Enemy
What to do about this? That's what's kept me from writing more about this, I suppose--the sheer magnitude of what is happening, and the helplessness one feels when reading about it. With infectious diseases, though some of them are equally overwhelming, at least there is the hope of prevention via relatively simple devices (bed nets for malaria; condoms for HIV; isolation and medical treatment of TB, and of course the hope for vaccines, etc.) With systematic rape, there is no drug or vaccination to look for in the future. What is needed instead are shifts in attitude: more respect toward women; societal intolerance of such crimes by men; empowerment of women and girls; an understanding by family members of those who were raped; cessation of femicide. These are overwhelmingly difficult things to ask for, especially in countries fragmented by years of war and violence. How does one help to accomplish these things in far-off countries, when it's hard enough to be respected as a woman right here in the U.S.?Sheril Kirshenbaum: Silence Is the Enemy
Today begins a very important initiative called Silence Is The Enemy to help a generation of young women half a world away. Why? Because they are our sisters and children–the victims of sexual abuse who don't have the means to ask for help. We have power in our words and influence. Along with our audience, we're able to speak [with] them. I'm asking all of you–bloggers, writers, teachers, and concerned citizens–to use whatever platform you have to call for an end to the rape and abuse of women and girls in Liberia and around the world.Previously at Shakesville: Corrective Rape in South Africa, Congo Rape Epidemic I, Congo Rape Epidemic II, More, Please, Rape in the Ivory Coast, Rape "Integral" Weapon in Darfur; We Yawn.
[H/T Shaker SamanthaB]