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Institutional Justification of Rape Will Not Mend Rifts Over Violence Against Somali Mothers, Daughters and Sisters

February 6, 2013

Rape is a serious hideous crime in most judicial systems as it presents specific difficulties with regard to its prosecution and how individual cases are dealt with. It is perpetrated as a means of psychological warfare to be carried out on the populations of occupied territories and regions where civil war strives. Rape and sexual violence are huge problems felt by women and girls who have fled from Somalia, and continue to be internally displaced in their own country. ( )

Not all denounce the violence for fear of suffering new and worse traumatic experiences. Internally displaced women in all regions of Somalia and those who came from small clans are the victims who bear  the brunt of this ordeal.  Rape has become a daily practice in Somalia and refugee camps hosting Somalis in Kenya and Ethiopia for the last two decades. In fact, some refer to it as the “privatization of violence” denouncing the conspiracy of silence that reigns in refugee camps and among the suburbs of Mogadisho and all major Somali towns. No one talks and no one complains. There is a culture of silence that promotes and encourages impunity.

Armed militia based on religion, political factions as well as members of the military are suspected as the main culprits of rapes, beatings, murders against women. But not only that, women are harassed even by underpaid government troops, because they are the weakest of Somali society and all abuse this weakness.

Image  Today’s verdict who found guilty a woman who alleged rape by security forces, and a journalist who interviewed her, is a serious setback for ending sexual violence and protecting press freedom in Somalia. The government should drop its baseless accusation against the journalist and the woman. It is a smack in the face to all Somali women who are the backbone of society whose role assures the survival of a nation.

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