Saturday, 15 March 2014

No one is asking for it

It's no secret that rape is too much of a common thing. It's said that one in three women will be raped at some point in their life.  That's you, or your mother,  or your best friend. It's a terrifying fact.

There is so much I could say about the issue, but for now I’m going to focus on one specific case in Sudan. An 18 year old Ethiopian woman was lured into an empty property and raped by seven men. She was found by a police officer who took her to the police station, but she was not allowed to file a formal complaint as it was a public holiday. 

The men were convicted 6 months later, as one of them filmed the act and posted it on social media. They all received 40-100 lashes and fines. The woman, who by this stage was 9 months pregnant, had to go to court and was found guilty of committing ‘Indecent Acts’ and sentenced to a month in prison and made to pay a hefty fine. She was again not allowed to make a formal complaint about the rape, as she was under investigation for a criminal offence.

You would hope that if you were raped, there would at least be support available from the police and the justice system. But no, not only was she not supported, she was made to be the one who had done wrong. It’s certainly one way to make sure people don’t report rapes, if they know they’ll be blamed for it. It’s like the story of the policeman who gave a talk to some college students in America about how to protect themselves against rape, and he told them to just stop dressing provocatively, as they are ‘asking for it’. Do people not hear the things they say? No one is ‘asking for it’. This victim blaming cycle is ridiculous.

Sudan has been in the media a lot recently due to its apparent dire human rights situation, and this is just one issue in a whole list of others. But it’s one that deserves a minute of our time as we shake our heads and spare a thought for the hardships this poor woman is facing. It’s a terrible situation to be in that if you report a crime, you’ll end up taking blame. Come on world, get your act together.

Amnesty International, Teenage Gang-Rape Survivor in Sudan Convicted of ‘Indecent Acts’. 25 February, 2014. Available from: <>;
Amnesty International, Does monitoring Human Rights in Sudan Still Matter?  11 September, 2013. Available from:  <>;

Written by Jen Taylor

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