WOMEN & GIRLS AS WEAPONS OF WAR/SEXUAL VIOLENCE STILL STALKS HALF THE WORLD’S POPULATION, ESPECIALLY IN WARTIME

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/politics/women-as-weapons-of-war#

IRAQ-UNREST-YAZIDIS-KURDSThere are courageous accounts of women and girls rescuing themselves in war-torn countries where rape is a weapon of war.

In Nigeria, a 14-year-old escaped Boko Haram by jumping off the back of a moving truck crammed with schoolgirls and hiding in the jungle until the kidnappers gave up and drove away with her schoolmates.

When Maryam Uwais, a Nigerian activist lawyer and founder of the #Bring Back Our Girls movement, met the girl and asked where she got the nerve to jump off a fast-moving truck, she replied: I figured you can only die once. If I stayed on the truck they would kill me so I jumped. She rolled into the underbrush and stayed as still as death until the soldiers finally abandoned the search and left with the bounty of now-bound girls in the truck.

The teenager, who did not want to be identified, also met later with Malala Yousafzai, who travelled to Nigeria to establish solidarity with the families of the girls.

In northern Iraq, there are also accounts of courageous escapes. Dr. Golo Sinjari, acting director of the Independent Human Rights Commission in Iraq, tells the chilling story of two young women, 19 and 16, from Sinjar Mountain near Mosul who escaped when people in a town theyd been taken to paid ISIL (also known as ISIS) fighters to let them go.

The girls had been raped repeatedly by different commanders as they were sold from one group to another, Sinjari said in an email. The ISIS soldiers claim this is called Jihad marriage, and since they had forced the girls to convert to Islam, raping them was acceptable.

These Iraqi Yazidis women and children, are among the thousands who fled their homes in Sinjar when Islamic State militants attacked during the summer, finding refuge in the Kurdish city of Dohuk in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region. The Independent Human Rights Commission in Iraq has reported women and girls who are not able to escape from the advancing militants, are subjected to repeated rape, forced conversion to Islam and being sold from one group to another.

These Iraqi Yazidi women and children, are among the thousands who fled their homes in Sinjar when Islamic State militants attacked during the summer, finding refuge in the Kurdish city of Dohuk in Iraqs autonomous Kurdistan region. The Independent Human Rights Commission in Iraq has reported women and girls who are not able to escape from the advancing militants, are subjected to repeated rape, forced conversion to Islam and being sold from one group to another. AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP

As if to underscore the impunity of the rapists in the eyes of a conservative community, the Yazidi religious leaders and tribal elders promised the escaped women could live safely in their community because the rape had taken place under threat by ISIL.

Thats why the use of women as tools of war is psychological warfare against the men in the community, says rights activist Allami.

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