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Since seeing the film "The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo" in my politics of gender class last night, I have not been able to get the images of the women I saw speaking about having been brutally beaten, violated and humiliated out of my mind.
A story posted this week from correspondents in Enugu, Nigeria working with the Agence France-Presse, reveals that raids by the police have found an apparent network of baby “farms” in Nigeria. http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,24650838-23109,00.html Twenty teenage girls were rescued earlier this year from a hospital in Enugu.
Is the World Finally Taking Notice of the Humanitarian Crisis in the Congo? Is It too Little, too Late for Congo's Children?
Congo is in the news again this week as rebels advanced to the outskirts of Goma, the eastern regional capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (the "Congo"), before unilaterally declaring a ceasefire and halting their advance.
[asset|aid=960|format=image|formatter=asset|title=letra.gif|width=127|height=238|align=left|resizable=true]In the United States, we still harken back to our puritanical roots. It used to be that women who weren't seen as pure were hung as witches or cast out into the wilderness.
Today, virginity pledges, virginity rings, and even a bit creepier, father-daughter purity balls, all promote chastity in young women, who publicly pledge to all who will listen that they are, in fact, virgins. "I want to wait to have sex until I'm married," said teenage popstar Britney Spears on-camera to a riveted nation. You remember those days?
The title can be read two ways: women don't have a voice in how laws are applied to their bodies, or women demand that lawmakers who know little of what it's like to have a uterus keep their mouths shut.
Last Friday, September 26, 2008, the International Criminal Court in the Hague announced that there was sufficient evidence to go forward with prosecutions for war crimes and crimes against humanity against two Congolese warlords, Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui.
While reading a posting on feministing about the tactics that people use to get statistics out about rape I came to think about the task that lies before me.
Lets demand justice for LaVena Johnson. LaVena Johnson was a private in the U.S. Army who had been serving in Iraq. The Army ruled her death to be a suicide, despite a significant amount of evidence which seems to show that she had been raped and murdered apparently by someone who was also stationed at her military base. I really find it frustrating to believe that with what appears to be numerous suspicious signs surrounding her death, including the fact that her body was burned, there were unexplained bruises and other marks on her cheek and different parts of her body and a corrosive chemical had been applied to her genital area, the government doesn’t want to look any further into the cause of her death.
Like most people I don’t think of girls as brides, unless they are wearing a costume for Halloween or a school play. However an article in the New York Times this week, “Tiny Voices Defy Child Marriage in Yemen”http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/29/world/middleeast/29marriage.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=yemen&st=cse&oref=slogin made me aware that girl brides are part of the reality of several countries in the world, and that for these girl brides life is not a game but a painful reality.
You see a young woman walking towards you wearing a t-shirt. As she approaches, you begin to make out the writing. It reads: "I was raped".
What's your reaction?
If you're anything like me, you're more than just a little uncomfortable. Even as the former organizer of a Take Back the Night rally and sexual assault awareness programming, I still struggle with what to do when such an intense personal statement is thrust into the public sphere -- on something as ordinary as a t-shirt.
The shirts -- which are on sale at Scarleteen -- have a specific rationale as written by Jennifer Baumgardner.