I cannot post this week having agonised over reports I have read from ‘Human Rights Watch’ and not express my indignation at what is happening to women and girls in Syria, Iraq and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
What is the definition of ‘human rights’, I ask myself? I needed to remind myself of the United Nations ‘Universal Charter of Human Rights’.
Here is the link: http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/ – if you are interested.
Women are discriminated against and abused especially in times of conflict. Rape used as a ‘weapon of war’. I hate the acceptance and use of that term. It has become a sickening cliché. I had one of those light bulb moments. My journey with words surely has to illuminate not only my own conscience, but also yours.
How can I raise the awareness of what is happening? I believe you have to be fully informed and read widely; to check the validity of the information and if the source of said information is credible. I urge you to subscribe to the newsletter of Human Rights Watch Organisation, and if you read anything this week then read this article about the systematic rape of Yezidi women in northern Iraq. It will bring tears to your eyes.
Here is the link: http://www.hrw.org/node/134203 – HRW have a very large audience. Join it.
I am totally impressed by the research methodology the organisation adheres to, which is set out on their website. I am not easily impressed. More than 80 researchers in countries across the world are conducting research, interviewing the victims, corroborating with witnesses to bring their stories into the wider domain. I have the utmost respect for these researchers and reporters. It is often dangerous, demanding, but oh such essential work.
Yet that is only half of the story. Their mission is to actively focus on impacting society at both a national and international level, to effect positive and sustainable change. That really challenges me. I want it to challenge you too. Are you?
It could be your wife, your sister, your eight year old daughter or mother being raped and sexually abused. But for the grace of God, it could be you, or me. Can you even begin to imagine the trauma of these women and girls? Raped not once, but repeatedly over the course of days, weeks and even longer. Not only do they have to live with the fallout of unwanted pregnancies, contracting STD’s, including HIV/AID’s, but also the psychological trauma. Some attempt suicide, by cutting their wrists, by hanging or by electrocution in the bath. It sickens me. I am not going to give the perpetrators blog time.
Forget your ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ fantasy and fictional world. Something far more sinister and real is happening today, in Iraq, in Syria and beyond. These women and girls must never be forgotten, nor society accept the ridiculous notion that they are ‘spoils of war’.
E.L James, do me a favour and donate some of your millions to Human Rights Watch. Now there’s a challenge! I might just have a little respect for you, should you choose to do so…