SHE SHE SHE: Let the world speak against raping of women and girls

Thursday, May 14, 2015
Rape is one of the most heinous crimes ever committed against women the world over, and tackling the menace should be everybody’s business.

Rape is defined as the unlawful sexual intercourse or any other sexual penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person, with or without force, by a sex organ, other body part, or foreign object, without the consent of the victim.

Women all over the world suffer from this crime call rape, especially from those who are to protect them. Those they look to as their brother, fathers, uncles, husbands and cousins or relations are the ones committing these crimes.

In countries that are experiencing wars, women are tortured and raped in those countries just because they are women. Women in these war zones are turn into sex slaves, raped every second without their consent as if they are the reason behind those wars.

Recently, the world was hit by news of women and girls being raped, tortured and killed in the process from India every second of the day, while the perpetrators go free.

In those days when we hear of rape, we would hear that a woman or girl was raped by a man but now and in this digital age, when rape cases happen, able-bodied men gather themselves in a corner or even public places and ganged raped their sisters, instead of ganging up to protect their sisters from the crime.

I can only imagine a 16, 17 or 18 year old girl being ganged raped by 4 to 5 able young men, tortured and left lying down helpless and, in turn, expect that girl to live.

One could only imagine the pain, suffering, and the psychological trauma they went through in the hands of men that have no conscience left in them.

The big question is “what the world is doing to tackle the situation in India”, so that our girls and women there could live without fear of being raped.

Is the world telling us that it is a crime to be a woman on earth? Why are the men of the world telling us women that we are nothing more or less than sex objects?

According to research, India is the place where sexual assault is rapidly increasing. Rape in India is one of India’s most common crimes against women.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 24,923 rape cases were reported across India in 2012, but experts agree that the number of unreported cases of sexual assault brings the total much higher.

Out of these, 24,470 were committed by parents/family, relatives, neighbours and other known persons, implying that men known to the victim committed 98 per cent of reported rapes.

The latest estimates suggest that a new case of rape is reported every 22 minutes in India.

A new case of rape reported in every 22 minutes in India, mostly committed by those close to the victims!

What is the world turning into, when the man I call my brother and expect him to protect me rapes me once, twice or more each day, and nothing is being done about it because it is a family matter, and it should be private to keep the family name alive?

What family name is more important than the life of a woman or a girl who is sexually exploited in a home by a trusted relation?

Then what would that brother do when he meete other men that are not related to the victim raping the victim.

The world has passed the stage of keeping criminals at home because they are related to us.

Everyone is saying “break the culture of silence”, but we have seen rape cases in our courts thrown away due to lack of evidence, because such a case happens in our homes, and relatives refuse to come and testify due to family rules.

Ethiopia is estimated to have one of the highest rates of violence against women in the world.

A report by the UN found that nearly 60 per cent of Ethiopian women were subjected to sexual violence. Rape is a very serious problem in Ethiopia.

The country is infamous for the practice of marriage by abduction, with the prevalence of this practice in Ethiopia being one of the highest in the world.

In many parts of Ethiopia, it is common for a man, working in co-ordination with his friends, to kidnap a girl or woman, sometimes using a horse to ease the escape.

The abductor would then hide his intended bride and rape her until she becomes pregnant. Girls as young as eleven years old are reported to have been kidnapped for the purpose of marriage.

Someone you love and agree to marry - why would you abduct her and rape her every day until she became pregnant and, if it continues like that, that woman or girl would live in that situation for the rest of her life.

Some of our men sometimes behave as if we are still in the Stone Age, uncivilized, unaware and uneducated.

In The Gambia, we have seen fathers raping their daughters in the homes; and when the girls report it to the mother, they reject it as a false claim until when pregnancy occurs; and when the cases are taken to court family members decline to testify due to the same family rules of losing their family name.

I began to wonder what sort of importance is attached to a family that gives it the right to commit a crime and go scot-free.

How could a father commit incest and walk free; how could a brother raped a sister and walk free; how could an uncle rape his niece and walk free, just because a family name is at risk?

In The Gambia, most of the rape cases in our courts happen in the homes.

Gambian women and girls thank God that one would board a commercial vehicle or taxi and her mind would be at rest, because neither the taxi nor the vehicle driver or the male passengers would harass you sexually or even think of raping you in the vehicle or taxi, because every passenger or driver in the vehicle or taxi is related in one way or the other.

We should also be able to denounce rape cases happening in our homes and secret places, by coming out as witnesses and help the authorities in putting away the perpetrators because they are not good for the society.

The society should know that taking the perpetrators behind bars would help the society to live in peace. Let us take it from being a private family matter to serving the public interest; and let our leaders put in place stricter laws that one would always think about before committing the crime.

Let parents talk to their sons to see girls as their sisters, so that the world would be a better place for us all to live in.

Author: Halimatou Ceesay