Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Violation of Women as a Weapon of War

After reading several accounts of rape, sexual violence, and forced impregnation, it is clear that this 'war tactic' has proven to be just the horror that it was intended to be. The Japanese, Boko Haram, and ISIS in general seem to be getting exactly what they want--mass destruction-- and not always in dead body counts. The type of ruin that these groups have created is more than physical and mental harm to the individual; it harms families and communities on the largest possible scale.

The locations of such instances where girls are being sold, raped and killed, all have something in common. It begs the question, why don't we hear about mass rapes and impregnation as a war strategy in the United States? Among a myriad of factors is the aspect of religion. Not just the belief in a different god, but the pride, tradition, and customs associated with middle eastern faiths. In Susskind's article she analyzes the why part of rape as a weapon of war. In order to unravel the plans of ISIS we must first discover what makes this tactic so deadly. Young girls like Noor belong to families that are devout and traditional. Rape and other sorts of extramarital affairs are shameful offenses and are punishable by a girl's family, elders, and community. Although it may seem obvious that Noor is not at fault for her rape, the community rejects her as being 'impure' and unworthy of continuing life as a nonvirgin. I do not mean to discount the value of purity in saying that these families are being unfair. In the article we read about Japanese rape and mutilation towards Chinese women and girls the same case is evident. Girls who were raped were considered used and permanently damaged. Families were nonforgiving, making the crime extremely effective in dividing families and communities. A society that is no longer united cannot function and act as a whole to fight the wrongs that plague their people. How well would this war tactic work on our country? The United States may have evaded such rape and sex slavery due to its location and demographics but I am confident enough to say that many families in America, including mine, would not reject a woman or girl if she were ever raped.

Another serious problem in addition to strict religious traditions is poor government intervention. The  kidnapping of school girls in Nigeria may be attributed to the country's vulnerability. I am by no means saying that such a devastating event couldn't happen in the U.S. or any other country, but the role of government officials is important in preventing such events. After two years of not much searching and little success in finding the girls, it is clear that the Nigerian government has pushed the issue aside. Families of the victims' anger and grief are expressed constantly, yet there seems to be little progress. Countries that lack full government protection are more vulnerable to the war crime of rape and sexual slavery.

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