In case you have not read it by now, the Nicholas D. Kristoff Op/Ed in the NYT about the aftermath of civil unrest in Liberia is the trigger. In After Wars, Mass Rapes Persist Kristoff describes an ugly, despicable reality:
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; it has been easier to get men to relinquish their guns than their sense of sexual entitlement. 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.
"I couldn't walk well, so they took me to hospital," Jackie told me. It was worse than that: She was hemorrhaging, and the hospital couldn't stop it. So Jackie was rushed in critical condition to Monrovia's largest hospital, where she spent weeks recovering.
So what can we do?
Sheril Kirshenbaum of The Intersection and Isis the Scientist of On Becoming a Domestic and Laboratory Goddess have teamed up to launch a blog-based awareness campaign. The Silence is the Enemy campaign starts today with this entry from Sheril Kirshenbaum:
In 2006 I was sexually assaulted. I never expected to blog about it.
One evening in DC, a stranger grabbed me as I walked from the metro stop to my apartment after work. I wish I could say I screamed or fought back, but I was too horrified. Instead I could only stare in disbelief at the jackass holding me down. This can't be happening. In a desperate scramble I somehow managed to break away before it escalated to rape and ran inside my building. He winked and blew a kiss from behind the glass door, as if to say 'oh well, next time'. I was the third women in the neighborhood to report a similar story to police in two weeks-also the luckiest. The experience forever shattered a false sense of security, knowing that to monsters like this man, I'm nothing more than conquest, having no identity beyond what I can potentially provide for them. The reward isn't about sex-but subjugation and power. And I will not be a silent witness to rape.
Please join in.
If you have a blog, please post something about this to inform your readers, even if it is only a link to Sheril's post. Awareness is the more important step. If you do publish a post please email Sheril with your link (email@example.com)
Join the Facebook group.
Write and/or email your members of Congress (Congressional Directory).
Educate yourself- A list of informational resources has been provided by Jessica Palmer of Bioephemera.
Click for cash: Sheril and Isis and a growing storm of the compensated bloggers will be donating their payout for the month of June to Doctors Without Borders. This organization is doing much of the heavy lifting in Liberia to provide health care for the women and children who have been raped. The DrugMonkey blog will be joining this effort by donating our payout from SMG. Where you come in is by going by your favorite participating blogs as much as you can during the month of June because the payout is based on traffic. So far this list includes Bioephemera, Aetiology, Neurotopia, Adventures in Ethics and Science and The Questionable Authority. I would suggest picking a blog you don't read that frequently and picking through the archives is a nice easy way to participate.
Don't forget to write, call and/or email your members of Congress (Congressional Directory). Ask your CongressCritter what s/he is doing about rape in Liberia. What is our government doing about post-conflict abuse of women worldwide?