A recent study by the UN agency, UNICEF, revels that sexual violence is spreading like a disease in many parts of Africa where there is violence. Women are increasingly becoming the first casualties of war and are compelled to spend a live in shame because enemy soldiers physically abused them. n Darfu, janjaweed militia kidnapped a 12 year-old girl and gange raped her for a week resulting in the crippling of her legs and castigating her as a woman who has shamed the community. Under Shariah law, rapded women may be prosecuted f or adultery or fornication. As Refugees International observes: “The government is more likely to take action against those who report and document rape than those who commit it.”
In the savage civil war currently raging in the Democratic Republic of Congo, rape victims take most of the blame for seemingly allowing themsevles to be captured and raped. After being raped, Congolese women are banished by their husbands and ostracized by their communities. Often they are genitally mutilated by a gunshot or tossed on a fire naked.
In cutures wher egirls and women are married off and chastity iss central to womanhood, all is lost for a woman wo loses her honor. The subsequent stigma often is a heavier burden than the assualt itself. So, it should not be surprising that most of these wounded girls and women remain silent about the assault.
The tragedy of Darfur is most impacting both young girls and women who are more likely to be physically assaulted than their husbands or fathers. The world talks about Darfur but the killing and raping continue unabated in Darfur. In the end, it is always the women who most suffer.