Around this time, last year, the world slowly awoke to the prospect of Self-Determination in the Middle East. The skin of Dictatorships was throbbing as the veins of protest under simmered with the drive to overthrow despotism and replace the defective governmental system with Democracy. The world watched as the first domino collapsed, with Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution. The second domino shook precariously and finally fell, as Egypt sent Hosni Mubarak out of his post. The third domino took much longer to rock- as a dictator’s iron fist clamped down on his people, eventually ending with his bloody end. Even as I write, so many more dominoes are shaking.
|The confluence of a culture of silence and a culture of rape is a lethal mix.|
Sourced from www.sparksummit.com
In another part of Africa, a hunger crisis sparked by geographical vagaries and fuelled through relentless efforts of a faulty governmental policy has left Somalia broken. The world is focussed, sending aid, supplies and food in all the proportions it can afford. South Sudan entered its much sought after status as a “state”, and is handling its own brand of crisis, with world attention that empathizes with the cause. But even as women in Africa take beating after beating no one seems to hear their cries.
Be it DR Congo or Delta State, women suffer under the brunt of rape. A recent news article speaks of nuns being raped. The article explained that an innocent attempt by some Catholic reverend sisters to render spiritual cover to some depraved communities in the Delta State has actually landed them in trouble. The Catholic nuns were, according to the news item, ambushed and raped by men who had guns in tow, just as they were approaching the community at nightfall to evangelise and pray for the sick in the area. The reverend sisters were allegedly too scared to report the issue to the police. However, it was said that the police had begun a manhunt for the rapists. Although the incident is being discussed in low tones, neither the church nor the victims are willing to take action against the suspected rapists. This culture of silence coupled with a relentless pursuit of a culture of rape is a lethal combination to the preservation of the rights of women and the accordance of respect that they rightfully deserve to enjoy. No law, no rhetoric will ever make a difference in the backdrop of a society that is so terribly embedded in murky waters such as this.
The situation needs to be resolved from all angles- the issue of rape needs to be targeted by addressing the condition civil society. Thanks to the mistreatment meted out to the women, what with so many of them raped and traumatised with sexual assault in a manner so terribly bereft of compunction, today, many of these women suffer under the brunt of a stigma that puts a permanent pockmark on them. Seriously- when will this culture of rape stop? Will it ever stop? Is it asking for too much that a woman’s modesty be respected and honoured? Is it too much to hope that a woman is given the freedom to enjoy her dignity?