Somalia's Rising Woe: Mass Rape
Aid workers can't remember the last time so many women were being raped
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2011 9:52 AM CST
In this Thursday Dec. 2, 2010 photo, Asha, left, and Muna, right, during the interview conducted at a U.N. compound in northern Somali town of Galkayo.   (AP Photo/Muhumed Malkadir)

(Newser) – Add another item to Somalia's long list of woes: A country wracked by violence and famine is also seeing a frightening rise in rape, reports the New York Times, which recounts the findings of aid workers and the tales of victims. The sexual abuse is occurring at the hands of militant group al-Shabab, among others. Reports say these self-proclaimed defenders of a harsh form of Islam are grabbing women and girls and gang-raping them; they're also apparently demanding families hand over girls as young as 12 for marriage—arrangements that typically last a few weeks and basically turn the women into sexual slaves designed to improve fighters' morale.

It's a move that's also intended to control the population, and to keep their men fighting, with the broke group substituting girls for wages. Those who refuse to marry a fighter are killed. But the Shabab aren't the only ones to blame: The Times calls the country "a free-for-all of armed men," ranging from government soldiers to rogue fighters, who are raping women in refugee camps and those forced by famine to trek long distances, separating them from the protection of their clan. Because UN operations are extremely limited in the country, there are but a few small Somali organizations in place to help these women. Says the founder of one, "There’s no justice here, no protection, people say 'You’re junk' if you’ve been raped." (Want to help? Here's one option.)

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Showing 3 of 14 comments
miko3
Dec 29, 2011 12:03 AM CST
Another restaurant cliaimed to use fresh mozz arella cheese,where it's dishes were actually made with economy cheddar.the "fresh pasta"advertieshed on another meau tumed out to be frozen.--Agedate. ??M--a nice and free place for younger women and older men,or older women and younger men,to interact with each other
edtastic
Dec 28, 2011 11:12 PM CST
Why do we only see media coverage about these conflicts when there is rape as if the daily struggles of mass murder and civil war are too boring to make headlines.
793tango
Dec 28, 2011 7:17 PM CST
Anyone who thinks this is hilarious needs to pack a bag and go there to enjoy the hilarity in person.