Saturday, March 08, 2008


Today, March 8th, is International Women's Day.

Guess the commemoration is still relevant - see here...

Excerpt: An Amnesty International report describing a relatively short civil war in Côte d'Ivoire documents case after case of girls and women, aged "under 12" to 63, assaulted by armed men. The more recent and thoroughgoing report by Human Rights Watch records the rape of children as young as three years-old. During the civil war, women and girls were seized in their village homes or at military roadblocks, or were discovered hiding in the bush. Some were raped in public. Some were raped in front of their husbands and children. Some were forced to witness the murder of husbands or parents. Then they were taken away to soldiers' camps to be held along with many other women. They were forced to cook for the soldiers during the day and every night they were gang-raped, in some cases by 30 to 40 men. They were also beaten and tortured. They saw women who resisted being beaten or killed by a simple slicing of the throat.

Many women were raped so incessantly and so brutally -- with sticks, knives, gun barrels, burning coals -- that they died. Many others were left with injuries and pain that still linger long after the war. Many who had been scarred as girls by "excision" or FMG (female genital mutilation) were literally ripped apart.

The Amnesty report coolly says: "The brutality of rape frequently causes serious physical injuries that require long-term and complex treatment including uterine prolapses (the descent of the uterus into the vagina or beyond)" -- one has to wonder what lies "beyond" the vagina -- "vesico-vaginal or recto-vaginal fistulas and other injuries to the reproductive system or rectum, often accompanied by internal and external bleeding or discharge." It notes that such women usually can't "access the medical care they need." Some still find it hard to sit down, or stand up, or walk. Some still spit up blood. Some have lost their eyesight or their memories. Some miscarried. Many contracted sexually transmitted diseases and HIV. No one knows how many of them died, or are dying, as a result

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