“Jackie is too young to remember the 14-year civil war in Liberia, from 1989 to 2003, when as many as three-fourths of women were raped. Jackie’s world is one of a bustling, recovering Liberia with a free press and democratically elected leaders.
Yet somehow mass rape survived the end of the war. So the security guard at Jackie’s school, a man in his 50s, took the little girl to the beach where, she said, he stripped her and raped her. Finally, he ran off as she lay bleeding and sobbing on the sand.”
It is not a secret that rapes happen during a war, any war. Congo, Darfur, Bosnia, Rwanda is just a few of regions that mass rape was seen as an element of warfare; rape is considered by many as a weapon against the enemy. Liberia’s war ended in 2003 after 14 years. Nevertheless, even today, six year after the official ending of the war, the epidemic of rape continues. The reports show that girls as young as three years have been victims of rape.
An International Rescue Committee survey suggests 12 percent of girls aged 17 and under acknowledged having been sexually abused in some way over the previous 18 months. Further, of the 275 new sexual violence cases treated Jan-April by Doctors without Borders, 28 percent involve children aged 4 or younger, and 33 percent involve children aged 5 through 12. That’s 61% age 12 or under.
In a terrific NYTimes Op-Ed, Nicholas Kristof wrote ‘it has been easier to get men to relinquish their guns than their sense of sexual entitlement.’
You may think, reading this lines, that all this is very sad, but you cant do anything to change it.
Sheril Kirshenbaum at The Intersection thought that we can do something, we can make a difference. She decided to do something, and “SILENCE IS THE ENEMY” is that something. She tries to draw attention to the plight of girls in Liberia, and elsewhere around the world. “Silence is the enemy” is a blogospheric awareness campaign to say:
1. this is happening
2. it’s completely monstrous, and
3. we want change.
A number of bloggers are donating their blog revenues to Doctors Without Borders to help the victims of sexual violence in Liberia. Do not feel obligated to donate, there are many ways to contribute. Write and email members of your government, speak at community meetings, encourage others to get involved, or donate to our chosen charity (Doctors Without Borders).
Spread the word.