Rape is a frequent occurrence in Somalia. Here, rape is normal

Somalia: Women Shouldn’t Live in Fear of Rape According to this HRW report published last month, ” The UN reported nearly 800 cases of sexual and gender-based violence in Mogadishu alone for the first six months of 2013, although the actual number is likely much higher. Many victims will not report rape and sexual assault because they lack confidence in the justice system, are unaware of available health and justice services or cannot access them, and fear reprisal and stigma. When Human Rights Watch asked one survivor why she did not report being raped, she shrugged: “Rape is a frequent occurrence in Somalia. Here, rape is normal.”

It is troubling to read these reports day in and day out. The government turns a blind eye, the society blames the rape survivors and their communities ostracizes them.

If the survivors seek justice, they will, in worst cases, be subjected to a traditional court and possibly be even forced to marry their rapists. The traditional court is a tea shop for older Somali men who think that marriage is the solution to every problem facing Somali women. Can you imagine that? What kind of justice is that?

Finding the above option unappealing, other survivors opt to have their cases handled by the government. This is a government confined to a few areas in Mogadishu and which is fighting for its existence. These poor survivors eventually end up being imprisoned and possibly even subjected to even more sexual violence.

Either way, they’re damned.

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4 Comments

    1. Yes, it is terrifying. Rape happens in private places as well as in the public. In Somalia, it mostly happens in the camps for the Internally Displaced people. These are camps full of people, including uniformed men. Somali women are resilient and often report their rape despite the repercussions. We have heard of cases where the raped women get arrested for speaking up. This shows their tremendous courage.

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      1. I agree, they are courageous. To live under those circumstances must take an incredible amount inner strength. I imagine there is very little hope that any of this will change anytime soon.

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