Guest Author - Rev. Jackie O´Neal S.T.M.
According to an article that appeared in the East African Standard in 2007: “If Africa had the courage and capacity to arrest and try all those who have killed, raped and maimed the daughters and mothers of the continent, huge concentration camps would be required in at least 20 countries stretching from Cape Town to Cairo and Dakar to Djibouti.”
Futher the article explained that the most vulnerable nations are those that are conflict torn such as the situation recently in Nairobi, Kenya. The article mentioned other areas as well: Chad, Central African Republic, Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia where animosities run deep despite a common language and religion.
In addition, some statistics estimated via data from Nairobi Women's Hospital that the hospital handles about 18 rape cases, including babies, daily.
“Still, women and children are targeted, killed and maimed in the merciless politico-religious conflicts between governments and militants in North African States such as Algeria,” the East African Standard report noted.
In the report, Prof Joseph Karanja, a leading gynecologist and lecturer at the University of Nairobi's Medical School offered insight into African culture and the position of men concerning the rape of women and children. "Contrary to what many may assume, rape and killing of women and children is not part of African culture. In the traditional society, warriors never targeted, maimed, killed or raped women and children,"
Joanne Tomkinson’s article “Women’s Day a time to grieve, a time to be inspired” explained that although the media continues to report on the rising number of cases of violence against women globally, there are still shining examples of women have been empowered to take action even in the face of conflict.
Tomkinson’s article is inspiring, informative and offers several examples of organizations dedicated to the empowerment of women around the world. As we move toward honoring International Women’s Day getting involved in supporting the empowerment of women in conflict zones in tantamount to helping heal the deep scars that remain in the hearts of women, but especially those in vulnerable areas.
Inter Press Service and Africa News announced today that a delegation of Sudanese women met with leaders at the African Union Summit. Betty Achan, agriculture minister in the government of Sudan’s parliament is a member of the delegation. “The pain of Sudan is the pain of every woman,” she told the Inter Press Service.