The agonizing wait goes on.
May 1, 2014 11:12 AM   Subscribe

187 girls still missing two weeks after they were abducted from a school in north-eastern Nigeria. The Nigerian government is facing growing international embarrassment and domestic anger over its failure to locate scores of school girls kidnapped by militants more than two weeks ago. There are fears many of the missing girls, suspected of being taken by the Islamic group Boko Haram, may have been smuggled out of Nigeria into neighboring countries. From The Smithsonian. BBC News ABC News, Australia. The suspected abductors, Boko Haram, are believed to be linked with Al-Qaeda.
posted by bricksNmortar (70 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
Horrible.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:31 AM on May 1, 2014


Oh God, how terrifying. This seems like a pretty damn big deal but I haven't heard a single mention of it in the media until now.
posted by Jess the Mess at 11:52 AM on May 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


BBC World Service has been talking about this quite a lot. Our Public radio station does BBC after marketplace at 7PM, when I tend to be driving around. It's horrendous.
posted by Windopaene at 11:54 AM on May 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


I was just reading an article in Salon yesterday about how it is going underreported.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:56 AM on May 1, 2014


**by American news.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:56 AM on May 1, 2014 [11 favorites]


What's odd is that the BH have been doing horrible things in Nigeria for quite a while now, mostly targeting schools (their name more or less means "Western education is forbidden"). But this is the first atrocity to get any play in the American media.

From gunning down the entire graduating class of a boys' school (and then razing the building) to a bombing churches to a massive bombing in the capital city on the very same day as this attack, these nasty hillbillies have been on an anti-education, anti-diversity tear for years.

That's why the Salon story seems to weirdly off-base to me. Far from this being an ignored story, this is the first time in their long, ugly career that the BH has gotten any attention in the American press, which is much more able to pay attention to stories of women in distress than the workaday slaughter that's been happening for some time.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 11:59 AM on May 1, 2014 [20 favorites]


And now we're gonna jump in and kick ass and take names, right?
posted by Jess the Mess at 12:07 PM on May 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm so disturbed by this and I pray for these women and girls often. I'm proud of the ones who have escaped. But for crying out loud, where are the police and military in all of this???? Where is the UN? Where is anyone??

Nigeria needs to be called to account for allowing this to happen and for doing NOTHING to recover these folks. Can we bring them to account in The Hague?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:23 PM on May 1, 2014 [3 favorites]


Been following this on the BBC for the last few weeks, and what has struck me more/tugged at my heart about this story vs previous incidents (ie, kidnapping girls or attacks and murders at boys' schools) was the action of the parents (ie, parents marching and demonstrating in the capital).There have also been reports of fathers gathering and going into villages to look for their daughters, but I have not been able to find those interviews again ...but for those who are interested in finding it, the BBC has done this daily for weeks, it is just hard to find it out of all the news for this topic and others.

PRI has also had some coverage if anyone is interested in audio coverage/interviews.

I think that this story vs previous incidents is getting more coverage vs previous incidents (ie, murder of boys at schools), there is usually nothing that one can do, since the kids are already dead. In the case of girls, they are often released or if any are taken, it has been on a smaller scale. This is the first time that hundreds of girls have been taken, and in this case, they still may be alive.
posted by Wolfster at 12:32 PM on May 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


I lived with two people from Nigeria for a short time. We talked a bit about their old home. When I mentioned BH to one of them (this was before the kidnappings) she complained 'anytime you see something in the news about Nigeria, it's always Boko Haram.'

Here's an IAMA.
posted by K.P. at 12:34 PM on May 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


That's not true, sometimes it's a bunch of people trying to siphon gas killed in a pipeline explosion.
posted by thelonius at 12:36 PM on May 1, 2014


And the Nigerian government does nothing. I read the Amnesty International report yesterday and my first instinct to find Abubakar Shekau and strangle him left my hands shaking.

I read this Sunday, along with the posts from Nigerian commenters, and I'm utterly baffled at how no one in the local or federal government of the country seems to care about what's happening.
posted by droplet at 12:43 PM on May 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


in this case, they still may be alive.

AP is now reporting that some of them are being forced into marriage.
posted by Melismata at 12:45 PM on May 1, 2014


I found about this on Monday and while listening to the CBC this afternoon, they said those girls have been kidnapped for seventeen days. So there was 12 days there of nothing at all on the news. That just breaks my heart.
posted by Kitteh at 12:46 PM on May 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


According to my Nigerian friends, part of why the government has been relatively passive lately is because they launched a massive campaign against the Boko Haram in 2009, and it went very badly, resulting in a lot of civilian death, and a recruitment boost for the BH. So it's not stupidity, malice, or indifference here, it's fear of making things worse.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 12:49 PM on May 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


AP is now reporting that some of them are being forced into marriage.

As soon as I heard the news I knew that would be what those... persons... would be doing. I knew it, and yet reading that sentence still caused something inside to burst into higher flames of rage.

Coincidentally, I heard of this about a week ago, and when I was walking past the TV in our building's lobby---tuned to CNN---that same afternoon they were showing, as news, something about a lab like the lab the black box from the lost Malaysian Air flight could be analyzed in if/when it is found. They weren't reporting the box being found; they weren't reporting from a lab all set and ready and waiting for the box; they weren't reporting at all. And nothing about this.

More flames of rage, different direction.
posted by seyirci at 12:59 PM on May 1, 2014 [3 favorites]


I read this in the New Yorker yesterday, which contained a particularly heartbreaking quote:

In the meantime, as in so many other ways in Nigeria, each community has to fend for itself. For a while after the abduction, girls trickled back into town—some rolled off trucks, some snuck away while fetching water. That trickle has stopped. “Nobody rescued them,” a government official in Chibok said of the girls who made it back. “I want you to stress this point. Nobody rescued them. They escaped on their accord. This is painful."
posted by triggerfinger at 1:13 PM on May 1, 2014 [10 favorites]


I hate it when children are used as tokens in adults' fights. When the Beslan school massacre happened, I felt sick reading about it. Sick, angry, sad…and all of that again now.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:18 PM on May 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


Doesn't Nigeria have any counter-terrorism forces or anything? I mean, they're a big country. Their population is about half that of the US. If they don't, I'm sure some other country would be happy to contribute some. If girls have escaped, they must have at least some idea where the rest are being held.
posted by Mitrovarr at 1:22 PM on May 1, 2014


wenestvedt, I agree with you, unfortunately, the goal is to de-educate a populace to make them more amenable and ignorant and thus more willing to join you. While you can say they are being made "tokens" in "adults" fights, the fact is these are very clearly targets with a very specific value and the fight isn't against "adults" it's against modernity, education and knowledge.

I wish something could be done that wouldn't trigger a backlash.

Also - instead of "forced marriage" can we call it what it is "enslavement and rape"?
posted by symbioid at 1:23 PM on May 1, 2014 [54 favorites]


symbioid nails it with that last bit. The majority of news outlets that are covering this story at all are using euphemisms like "forced marriage" and "assault."

It's not that. It IS enslavement and rape. And I guess the whole idea of avoiding those terms is not to offend or trigger people (which I totally get) but it also seems like it's not giving people any clearer idea of what they are doing to these girls. This appears to make it less horrible than it is, imo.
posted by Kitteh at 1:49 PM on May 1, 2014 [11 favorites]


I would disagree that this isn't being covered on the news at all - I've seen a dozen or more articles about how nobody's covering it - but it is astounding that CNN devoted something like two weeks to nearly full-time coverage of a plane full of almost assuredly dead people for whom millions of dollars are being spent to search millions of miles of completely uninhabited area but can only spare one article for a couple hundred mostly probably still-living people for whom tens of dollars are being spent to search a small moderately-inhabited area.

But then, there were some men on the plane, and most of the passengers were the richer kind of non-white.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:55 PM on May 1, 2014 [5 favorites]


Also - instead of "forced marriage" can we call it what it is "enslavement and rape"?

Yes. A forced marriage isn't a marriage, by definition, because marriage is voluntary. These young women (they are 16-18 years old) are being raped by their captors.

I'm so proud of the ones who escaped on their own, but so horrified for those who didn't get that chance, or who were too scared to try (which is entirely legitimate!), or who tried and were recaptured (as I'm sure happened).

And even if, somehow, they are rescued or escape, they will never be the same. Not just because of the trauma they survived, but because of how the people in their own communities will react to them and their experiences. The play "Ruined", which I saw several years ago, really conveys that. (TW for visual and textual descriptions of rape and abuse.)
posted by suelac at 1:56 PM on May 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also - instead of "forced marriage" can we call it what it is "enslavement and rape"?

A lot of my colleagues are terrorism experts (I study other kinds of secret intelligence), and this very issue has been a subject of great puzzlement to many of them over the last decade and a half.

Excuse the expression; it seems a little bloodless, but if you study war criminals, you rapidly learn to start thinking of them as... let's say specimens on a petri dish. Otherwise it's just too emotionally difficult.

Anyway, these guys are famous for being outwardly abstemious and disciplined in every way. They rigidly adhere to their version of religious law, denying themselves all sorts of worldly pleasures, especially as it pertains to sexual 'morality'. Indeed, this is one of their biggest selling points, according to their own propaganda: they accuse us of being sexually immoral and hold themselves up as the exemplars of good behaviour.

Except when it comes to rape.

We all know that they've rationalised murder as okay (which is madness, obviously), but they should theoretically be totally against rape. I don't think they have any rulings -- or what have you -- saying that rape is acceptable, even in the context of war. But yet they use rape as a tactic of terror, as well as an end in itself, on a very wide scale, and they don't seem to even notice the contradiction.

It's not just 'forced marriages', by the way: AQ regularly uses rape as a way of intimidating, punishing, even recruiting people. They also seem to use rape as a way of giving their soldiers sexual release. These are actions which are black-and-white against the moral code of pretty much everybody on earth (including Al Qaeda), they don't even try to conceal it, and yet it doesn't seem to dent their reputation among radical Islamists. It's something I don't understand, and nobody I've talked to has been able to offer anything other than 'we don't understand it either'.
posted by Dreadnought at 3:16 PM on May 1, 2014 [28 favorites]


This story just sickens me. And I'm just straight-up enraged by how many news outlets are using terms like "marriage" and "brides," as pointed out above.

No, assholes. It's rape and enslavement.
posted by shiu mai baby at 4:31 PM on May 1, 2014 [6 favorites]


NPR's ATC covered this tonight. When I heard the mother describing the agony of the situation I pretty much lost it. Maybe it is better that CNN and Fox arn't covering this issue. Americans have a tendency to see these problems as an excuse to start bombing.
posted by humanfont at 4:50 PM on May 1, 2014


symbioid: thank you for saying that – it's been driving me nuts all week. I've been trying to contact editors and reporters when I see it because it reads like they're supporting Boko Haram by favoring their euphemisms over accuracy.
posted by adamsc at 4:59 PM on May 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's something I don't understand, and nobody I've talked to has been able to offer anything other than 'we don't understand it either'.

I can't come up with an explanation that isn't grounded in them not seeing women as human.
posted by suelac at 5:31 PM on May 1, 2014 [11 favorites]


Those poor, poor children. It's hard to know whether to weep or to wish hell and damnation on the bastards that did this.

I keep telling myself there are good Islamic people who lead a blameless life, but those espousing the beliefs of Boko Haram are simply evil.
posted by BlueHorse at 5:51 PM on May 1, 2014


I think part of the reason that Boko Haram is getting more play now is because Nigeria very recently revealed that they have the largest economy on the continent of Africa.

For a little bit (about a week), the government was all aglow about this, and then their own little "problem children" went and ruined it for them.

I'd say more but I'm getting pissed off again.
posted by lysdexic at 5:58 PM on May 1, 2014


A friend of mine completed a medical mission near this area of Africa recently. The vast majority of doctors she worked alongside wanted to get out of there. Not because they didn't love their country, but because garbage like this stuff happens and the public response is horrible. It's so difficult to imagine how in this modern age so many young souls can just go missing. Curious if any NGO or even vigilante force for the good could tilt the tables here. It's easy for me to speculate and type the following BUT -- if I had lots of money, a sense of justice, and was without family to care for, I think I would want to corral or even lead some extra-govnermental detective work to get the girls back and safe. You'd would think someone is out there who could do it though.
posted by skepticallypleased at 7:17 PM on May 1, 2014


Suelac, the best explanation I've seen for fundamentalist support of rape (of both men and women) as an acceptable punishment is that it is about purity and rule-following. A Good person cannot be raped, so if you are raped, you have done something wrong - the quality of 'rape' lies inherently with the recipient, not the person doing the rape. So a Good Person can commit rape on a Rape-able person without affecting their own moral status - the rape is caused and responsible by the victim. So to rape a Bad person is merely to prove that they are a Bad person who causes themselves to be raped through some moral failing of their own. They aren't dressed appropriately, they're disrespectful in their attitude, they don't follow traditional social codes etc. It doesn't really matter exactly what they did, because once they've been raped, they automatically a Bad Person who is morally responsible for their rape.

It works morally as long as you have the victim as the cause and responsibility of the rape.
posted by viggorlijah at 7:27 PM on May 1, 2014 [5 favorites]


AP is now reporting that some of them are being forced into marriage.

I also wish that the media and commentators would stop using these euphemisms. Sexual slavery is sexual slavery, and the other forced labor that they performing should also be called by its real name.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:17 PM on May 1, 2014 [7 favorites]


It's not just 'forced marriages', by the way: AQ regularly uses rape as a way of intimidating, punishing, even recruiting people. They also seem to use rape as a way of giving their soldiers sexual release. These are actions which are black-and-white against the moral code of pretty much everybody on earth (including Al Qaeda), they don't even try to conceal it, and yet it doesn't seem to dent their reputation among radical Islamists. It's something I don't understand, and nobody I've talked to has been able to offer anything other than 'we don't understand it either'.

Part of me is heartened by the idea that people who study this for a living are like WHAT THE FUCK. But part of me is surprised that anyone doesn't understand this. "Rape" is a terrible crime against human beings (often but not solely female human beings); if they are not actually human beings, then what you are doing to them is not rape. Those acts that the radical Islamists are perpetrating? They are not perpetrating them on women - on humans. On people. Therefore it is not rape; therefore it is not against the moral code, and so why would you try to hide it. It is not something to be ashamed of. Such is the power of our denial and rationalization.
posted by rtha at 9:04 PM on May 1, 2014


AQ regularly uses rape as a way of intimidating, punishing, even recruiting people. They also seem to use rape as a way of giving their soldiers sexual release. These are actions which are black-and-white against the moral code of pretty much everybody on earth (including Al Qaeda), they don't even try to conceal it, and yet it doesn't seem to dent their reputation among radical Islamists. It's something I don't understand, and nobody I've talked to has been able to offer anything other than 'we don't understand it either'.

Thus has it always been, thus shall it always be. The use of rape as a tool for intimidation and dehumanization is probably as old as violence itself. There's a reason it's always right there next to "pillage" when we talk about the horrors of war and destruction. This in no way minimizes how horrible it is, but it's been used by nations and empires and religions regardless of their supposed level of civility or piety. You could probably argue that there's a fairly steady correlation between the level of "morality" or "honor" that a group claims for themselves and their willingness to encourage sexual violence.

As to BH and AQ, I am not entirely surprised that it's only now that the US is getting concerned about this. The rise of BH and AQ shouldn't come as a surprise considering the combination of widespread unrest and destabilization in northern and central Africa with Islamist fundamentalism that the US has only exacerbated. Our re-engagement in the Middle East and Central Asia will go down in history (or at least what little of it we have left given our current trajectory) as the ruin of large parts of the world with a healthy assist by the very things we supposedly went in there to stop.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:55 AM on May 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


but it is astounding that CNN devoted something like two weeks to nearly full-time coverage of a plane full of almost assuredly dead people for whom millions of dollars are being spent to search millions of miles of completely uninhabited area

There are many reasons for this to do with milquetoast media, social, political and the fact that plane crashes are fairly rare, but a big fear for people who can afford to fly.

Reporting on Africa actually requires somebody to go there, probably at some risk. Due again to many reasons there are very few reporters who are able to report from dangerous locations. Not least that there are very few foreign correspondents these days. Look at reporting in Russia for an example of a relatively stable country that is unfriendly to local reporters.

On the radio today Wole Soyinka said that he believed that members of the government benefited from the the destablisation Boko Haram bring to the country. Certainly they seem to be able to act with impunity.
posted by asok at 8:33 AM on May 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


It may have been but it doesn't always have to be. We can create a global anti-rape culture that delivers severe punishment to those leaders who would endorse these crimes and the combatants that commit them.
posted by humanfont at 2:00 PM on May 2, 2014


Best to start in our own backyards, no?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:55 PM on May 3, 2014


We (for some values of "we") have and we are, and I'd love for us to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
posted by rtha at 1:15 PM on May 3, 2014


Agreed but it seems kinda hypocritical to talk about punishing people halfway around the world for doing this thing when hundreds? thousands? of women are raped every day in North America. We (as a continent) have next to no moral authority to tell others to stop doing this sort of thing until we stop doing it ourselves.

This isn't about perfect being the enemy of the good, it's about hypocrisy and moral authority.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:28 PM on May 3, 2014


"We" as a continent don't have any moral authority to do anything. As people who are members of countries, of course we have moral authority, even if our house is not perfect. In neither the US nor Canada is it culturally or legally permissible to kidnap hundreds (or even one!) schoolgirl and sell her into sexual slavery (even if it's euphamized as marriage).

If you're really going to take that tack, then we don't have any moral authority to tell Putin to stuff it when it comes to gay rights either, since the perfect state of gay rights (both legal and moral) is still not in existence on this continent.

I totally grok your point about hypocrisy, but that, taken as far as you seem to think we should, means not only that we should but that we must shut the fuck up about this terrible situation in Nigeria because we're not perfect here at home. How does shutting up about horrible injustice ever help anyone?

We can do many things at once, like work on issues of rape and sexual assault here at home and also speak out against what's happening not-here-at-home and say no, that is not acceptable anywhere, for anyone.
posted by rtha at 1:52 PM on May 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


My point was more in response to humanfont's assertion that we need to create a global anti-rape culture. I don't disagree with that at all.

But it's the height of hypocrisy to insist that others do what we refuse to address ourselves in any meaningful way, no? (And yes I know Obama just spoke about it but I haven't read the transcript so can't comment).

I totally grok your point about hypocrisy, but that, taken as far as you seem to think we should, means not only that we should but that we must shut the fuck up about this terrible situation in Nigeria because we're not perfect here at home. How does shutting up about horrible injustice ever help anyone?

You're taking it way farther than my thoughts or words intended or implied.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:00 PM on May 3, 2014


But it's the height of hypocrisy to insist that others do what we refuse to address ourselves in any meaningful way, no?

I guess I'm not seeing where anyone (here in this thread, at least) has even hinted that the Nigerian government should address issues that we will not and are not already addressing. I heard the "we" in "we need to create a global anti-rape culture" as meaning, well, we - as many of us as humanly possible. In the US and Canada, we do have laws against kidnapping and rape and forced marriage of minors - what else should we do or have in addition to those before we can say to BH (for example) that what they're doing is terrible and must stop?

I'm guessing that what the BH has done is a war crime and/or a crime against humanity, and if the specific perpetrators are caught they can be brought before the international tribunals that handle those charges. Is that not acceptable to you, if members of those tribunals are from countries that still have incidence of rape? I guess I don't know quite what it is you're looking for here, in order for us (industrialized nations? The West?) to morally or legally sanction the people who have done this.
posted by rtha at 2:55 PM on May 3, 2014


Agreed but it seems kinda hypocritical to talk about punishing people halfway around the world for doing this thing when hundreds? thousands? of women are raped every day in North America

If you are raping hundreds or thousands of women in America, kidnapping whole schools full of them and then forcing them into sexual slavery. Then you are not a hypocrite; you are a monster and I hope to see you and your peers destroyed.
posted by humanfont at 5:21 PM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I guess I'm not seeing where anyone (here in this thread, at least) has even hinted that the Nigerian government should address issues that we will not and are not already addressing.

How much actual serious organized and coordinated work is going on across North America to kill the rape culture we have and make sure it doesn't come back? Not a hell of a lot.

In the US and Canada, we do have laws against kidnapping and rape and forced marriage of minors

We do. Which has done nothing to stop rape culture.

I'm guessing that what the BH has done is a war crime and/or a crime against humanity, and if the specific perpetrators are caught they can be brought before the international tribunals that handle those charges. Is that not acceptable to you, if members of those tribunals are from countries that still have incidence of rape? I guess I don't know quite what it is you're looking for here, in order for us (industrialized nations? The West?) to morally or legally sanction the people who have done this.

Because as I said you are reading way more into what I have written, and ascribing far more extreme positions than I have espoused.

If you are raping hundreds or thousands of women in America, kidnapping whole schools full of them and then forcing them into sexual slavery. Then you are not a hypocrite; you are a monster and I hope to see you and your peers destroyed.

Whooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooosh.

That was the sound of the point flying over your head. Nearly TWO HUNDRED AND FORTY THOUSAND people are raped every year in the USA. That's over six hundred every day, three times the numbers we are talking about here in a single incident, or one every two minutes. (By comparison Canada's rates (assuming a 10% reporting rate, with approximately 25-50K assaults reported each year) are something like 500K a year, which makes me question the value of extrapolating data from assumptions like the 10% above, unless the same rate applies in the USA, in which case it's more like 2.4 million raped per year.).

Do we hear this kind of outcry about these horrific numbers of people being raped and sexually assaulted each year? I mean a(n inter)national, organized, cohesive attempt from the top level of government down to the street to stop rapes from happening and preventing them in the future. Yes, there's RAINN and associated groups, there are people working to try and make men understand.

Yes, it is an absolute tragedy what is happening to these girls. It's a horror. It should be stopped.

But in the time it took me to write this and find some reasonable links and statistics, twelve people were sexually assaulted.

That's my point in a nutshell right there. Why are Canada and the USA not "facing growing international embarrassment and domestic anger" about the vast numbers of people assaulted every year?

"Please ignore the fact that at least three times as many people are raped every day in our countries, you're bad Nigerians!"

The hypocrisy is rank and I am astonished that neither of you see it.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:00 AM on May 4, 2014


Lots of people are murdered in the USA every year, too, but I have no problem with condemning terrorist attacks which kill people. The idea that we can't condemn a terrorist group kidnapping, enslaving, and raping 200 schoolgirls without being hypocrites is crazypants.
posted by Justinian at 11:37 AM on May 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


The hypocrisy is rank and I am astonished that neither of you see it.

I still want to know what more you want, and exactly what steps and public policy measures Canada and the US should take before they are allowed to condemn what's happened in Nigeria. According to you, both of our nations are too hypocritical to be allowed to speak against the mass kidnapping and enslavement of schoolgirls, despite laws and groups like RAINN.

Do we have to get to zero rapes and sexual assaults before we can be considered unhypocritical enough to speak out?
posted by rtha at 12:18 PM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Basically, to me, if all you can say is we have to do "more," then I think your standards are unmeetable (because they are unmeasurable) and your policy is not a policy because it has no goals. If we can't speak out until we meet the unmeetable, then we can never speak out, and that is unacceptable.
posted by rtha at 12:21 PM on May 4, 2014


The idea that we can't condemn a terrorist group kidnapping, enslaving, and raping 200 schoolgirls without being hypocrites is crazypants.

Good thing I never said that then, isn't it? Yet again, I was responding to humanfont's comment about creating a global anti-rape culture, and pointing out we have an enormous pile of shit to shovel out of our own backyards before we start telling the rest of the world what to do.

Quoting myself: "Yes, it is an absolute tragedy what is happening to these girls. It's a horror. It should be stopped."

But you two seem to have ignored that. Gee, I wonder why.

I still want to know what more you want

What do I want? I want our legislatures to be more forceful about punishments for rape. I want our police services to be open and compassionate and invested in tracking down perpetrators of sexual assault, and I want the judiciary to take sexual assault seriously.

I want men everywhere to step forward and say "This is not okay," and teach their sons the same thing.

My standards: let's start with halving the number of sexual assaults each year. That is eminently measurable.

But mostly what I want is to not have to defend myself over and fucking over again regarding a small comment I made about looking to our own problems before telling other people what to do.

I'm done, because I am sick and fucking tired of having to defend myself and my opinions over and over again when I am being perfectly damn clear.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:30 PM on May 4, 2014


I'm done, because I am sick and fucking tired of having to defend myself and my opinions over and over again when I am being perfectly damn clear.

Dude, this is like your third meltdown in the last two days, just in the threads I'm reading alone. It's just words on a computer screen; nothing here is worth this much angst and anger.

What do I want? I want our legislatures to be more forceful about punishments for rape. I want our police services to be open and compassionate and invested in tracking down perpetrators of sexual assault, and I want the judiciary to take sexual assault seriously.

I want men everywhere to step forward and say "This is not okay," and teach their sons the same thing.


Those are great goals and I'm with you all the way. They also aren't at all incompatible with being horrified by, and perhaps taking steps towards an international response to, an atrocity on the other side of the world.
posted by Dip Flash at 2:32 PM on May 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Do we hear this kind of outcry about these horrific numbers of people being raped and sexually assaulted each year?

So it isn't rape unless two men hear the woman call out for help? Wow that's an interesting point of view. Fortunately in these United States we've had a lot of politicians and media folks standing up to this kind of mentality. From the recent detailed coverage of the widespread cases of sexual violence in the military, to the public outcry around Idaho's refusal to implement national standards designed to reduce prison rape; we Americans are doing our part to end violence against women.
posted by humanfont at 5:36 PM on May 4, 2014


More on Boko Haram.

It's not just a Nigerian problem. Boko Haram is spreading to neighboring countries and could destabilize a pretty large region of western Africa. The fact that the girls were taken over the border is extremely significant. It means that those countries' governments are weak and/or unstable enough to let BH flourish and establish itself and become the de facto government. Their associaltion or non association with Al Queda is irrelevant; this is taking on a life of its own.

This has a real possibility of turning the coastal area into another Zaire/DRC situation.

Nigeria's president has admitted the government has no idea where the girls are. As this drags on, I think that his government could survive or fall over this whole situation.
posted by lysdexic at 9:25 PM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh, and Nigeria will be hosting the World Economic Forum Wednesday, so even more attention will be focused on the country.
posted by lysdexic at 9:31 PM on May 4, 2014


BBC: boko haram admit responsibility
posted by marienbad at 5:14 AM on May 5, 2014




BBC: Boko Haram 'to sell' Nigeria girls abducted from Chibok

"In the video, Abubakar Shekau said the girls should not have been in school in the first place, but rather should get married.

"God instructed me to sell them, they are his properties and I will carry out his instructions," he said."
posted by marienbad at 7:45 AM on May 5, 2014


All my girl are going to be armed from now on.
posted by humanfont at 4:16 PM on May 5, 2014


Why, do they live in Nigeria?
posted by Justinian at 7:29 PM on May 5, 2014


It would be hypocritical to only arm Nigerian girls.
posted by humanfont at 9:46 PM on May 5, 2014




Your url is old and busted.

Try this.
posted by Justinian at 12:42 PM on May 6, 2014


Ack, thanks!
posted by rosswald at 12:51 PM on May 6, 2014




Stupid headline, but good article on Boko Haram, or "Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati Wal-Jihad"--the People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad.
posted by lysdexic at 6:43 AM on May 7, 2014


Boko Haram militants kill ~300 people in Nigerian town. "The assault began with insurgents opening fire on the market in Gamburu on Monday afternoon, when the bazaar was filled with villagers from the town and neighboring area, he said. The militants then moved on to the rest of the city, according to Zanna, burning down houses and shops and destroying buildings with rocket-propelled grenade launchers. Most of the city - including the police station - is destroyed."
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:58 AM on May 7, 2014


Will CNN devote as much to the story of trying to fin these girls as they did to MH370? Will the world be more successful in their search?
posted by humanfont at 4:03 PM on May 7, 2014


Will the world be more successful in their search?

I wish the world was willing to spend even one percent of what has been spent looking for that airplane.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:15 PM on May 7, 2014 [2 favorites]




How Nigerian police also detained women and children as a weapon of war
From December 2011, the Nigerian police began to detain the wives and children of militants leaders – possibly to put pressure on the group, possibly to bring about negotiations.

Whatever the reasons, from 2011 to 2012 more than 100 Boko Haram family members were arrested, with no evidence to suggest they had any part in Boko Haram’s crimes.

...

A tit-for-tat cycle of arrests and abductions was established, with Shekau explicitly threatening the kidnap of more girls.

There's absolutely no equivalence between detainment and forced sexual slavery, but I'm thinking sending in the cavalry isn't going to change a lot of things.

Meanwhile, Islamist militants storm a village, killing hundreds of people.
At least 18 police officers were killed, but Mr. Zanna said there were no military forces in the town because all had been drafted in the search for the schoolgirls. Mr. Hassan said no officials had been to the town since it was attacked.
posted by lysdexic at 10:34 AM on May 8, 2014


I heard that yesterday, lysdexic. It all makes a lot more sense when you know that the government have precipitated this situation by extra judicial arrests and confinement of the relatives of Boko Haram members. The other thing that I found difficult to understand was how Boko Haram were receiving support from local people, which obviously they are, otherwise they would be betrayed as soon as any offer for a reward was made by the government. If Boko Haram were rampaging about killing people randomly then local support would dry up, I would assume.
Judging by this article by Human Rights Watch, referencing a 198 page report that they produced after interviewing 135 people, Boko Haram say they are against government corruption and attack government offices, the police, Christians and people who are said to be collaborators. They marry this to the promise of imposing an extremist Islamic sharia law upon the region, which may appeal to those who see the mainstream Christian church as part of the state and equally corrupt.
Given that the government response has been to commit 'crimes against humanity' it is not as surprising that Boko Haram have local support.
The Nigerian authorities have also arrested hundreds of people in raids across the north. Many of these people have been held incommunicado without charge or trial for months or even years. In some cases they have been detained in inhuman conditions and subject to physical abuse or death. The fate of many of those detained remains unclear.
It is a bit hard to stomach the recent news that Nigeria has the biggest GDP in Africa given the insane level of corruption.
Many Nigerians shrugged off the GDP news.

"I'm not really impressed. I don't feel it in my pocket... It's not the masses who are rich," said Richard Babs-Jonah, 47, a small farmer, expressing the common view that Nigeria's economy is rigged in favour of a handful of well-connected oligarchs.

"Those controlling the economy, those with government contracts, get all the money."
News reports announcing the abduction of the Chibok girls actually suggested that the president might have been too busy celebrating the GDP news to pay attention to local affairs.
After the release of the video purporting to show some of the abducted girls who have converted to Islam it has been reported that the government are considering the proposed prisoner exchange.
posted by asok at 2:43 AM on May 13, 2014


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