Rape as a weapon of war.
July 28, 2004 10:39 AM   Subscribe

Rape as a weapon of war: sexual violence and its consequences Amnesty International offers a stirring and comprehensive account of what's going on in Darfur: "When we tried to escape they shot more children. They raped women; I saw many cases of Janjawid raping women and girls. They are happy when they rape. They sing when they rape and they tell that we are just slaves and that they can do with us how they wish." [more inside]
posted by The God Complex (38 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I know the Sudan crisis has been covered on metafilter before, and I know many people here (most, I hope) are familiar with Amnesty International, but I think this link is worth being posted to the front page of metafilter. It's fairly long so make sure you set aside a little time to read it if you're going to.

(as far as I know this hasn't even been posted as a comment in any threads about Sudan thus far, unless google is hating on me.)

"There was also another rape on a young single girl aged 17: M. was raped by six men in front of her house in front of her mother. M's brother, S., was then tied up and thrown into fire." H., a 35-year-old Fur man from Mukjar.


"I was with another woman, Aziza, aged 18, who had her stomach slit on the night we were abducted. She was pregnant and was killed as they said: "it is the child of an enemy."A woman of Irenga ethnicity from the village of Garsila
posted by The God Complex at 10:46 AM on July 28, 2004

So, where are the US troops that the Bush Administration kindly committed to prevent this outrage ?

They're on the way, right ?
posted by troutfishing at 11:03 AM on July 28, 2004

So, where are the US world's troops?
posted by dhoyt at 11:06 AM on July 28, 2004

They Darfur rebels suffered significant defeats in January of this year, and they signed a ceasefire with the government in April. I believe that most of the rebels have fled to Chad. The atrocities described here were inflicted upon unarmed civilians by Khartoum's proxy militia, the Janjaweed, contemporaneously with the official military's defeat of the rebels and the signing of the "ceasefire". In using a militia, the Sudanese government could go through the motions of abiding by the ceasefire while inflicting collective punishment upon the civilian population of Darfur.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:39 AM on July 28, 2004 [1 favorite]

this is heartbreaking, heartbreaking stuff. thanks for the link. rape was used as a terrifyingly effective weapon in Rwanda, too:

The collective belief of Hutu women that Tutsi women were shamelessly trying to steal their husbands granted Hutu men permission to rape their supposed competitors out of existence. Seen through this warped lens, the men who raped were engaged not only in an act of sexual transgression but also in a purifying ritual. ''Once women are defiled as a group, anything one does to them is done in some kind of higher purpose,'' Robert Jay Lifton said. ''It becomes a profound, shared motivation of eliminating evil. Tutsis must be killed down to the last person in order to bring about utopia. They are seen, in a sense, as already dead.''


On April 7, 1994, the sounds of slaughter spilled out over Rwanda's capital city. Roadblocks were set up with armed soldiers. Lists of Tutsis were compiled. Constant radio announcements commanded Hutus to kill their longtime antagonists. Troops scoured the city, rounding up Tutsis and killing them.
Nine days into the genocide, Bizimungu was promoted from major general to military chief of staff. Army sources said Kabunga had stepped in again, pushing for his appointment.
Bizimungu replaced a man who was said to be neither brutal nor obedient enough. Bizimungu proved to be both.
Under his leadership, the young Hutu Power forces became infamous for atrocities such as cutting fetuses out of pregnant women, burying children alive and gang rapes in which the victim died of her wounds, of sheer terror, or both.

posted by matteo at 11:42 AM on July 28, 2004

Can we stop saying "Never Again"? It's pretty much meaningless at this point.
posted by aramaic at 11:55 AM on July 28, 2004

darfurgenocide.org has petitions and recommendations for action. US Congress Declares Darfur "Genocide". True Majority did a decent job of sending e-mails to motivate people to influence Congress on the recent issue.
posted by Shane at 11:55 AM on July 28, 2004

aramaic: You didn't actually read the essay, right?

Ultimately, preventing genocide and ethnic cleansing means creating the political will in our leaders to lead. We must tell them that never again will we believe them when they say they didn’t know. Never again will we excuse them when they fail to act. Never again will we forget that we are all members of the same race, the human race.

They're not quite using it like politicians use it.
posted by cmonkey at 12:08 PM on July 28, 2004

They're not quite using it like politicians use it.

Doesn't matter -- it still doesn't mean anything.
posted by aramaic at 12:09 PM on July 28, 2004

I don't know exactly WHERE but I know an Army wife whose husband is getting deployed -to Africa-in the next few weeks.
posted by konolia at 12:15 PM on July 28, 2004

Another testamony to the peace-loving religion of Islam.

[And please spare me the Christians-raping-during-the-Crusades diatribes]
posted by darren at 1:10 PM on July 28, 2004

What is the statute of limitations on acting evil in the name of your religion, anyway?
posted by Cyrano at 1:31 PM on July 28, 2004

My point is let's deal with the now, instead of using moral equivalence to say "well Christians once pillaged and raped in the name of their God, so it's OK if Muslims do it now."

It's a tired and intellectually factuous technique.
posted by darren at 1:37 PM on July 28, 2004

I guess I missed the post where someone said it was OK.
posted by purplemonkie at 1:40 PM on July 28, 2004

Another testamony

I think you meant testament. Even if you didn't, it's testimony.

intellectually factuous

I think you meant fatuous.

In any case, the genocide does not appear to be perpetrated in the name of radical Islam so much as the Janjawid & Sudanese Gov't are "ethnically displacing" Sudanese civilians.
posted by dhoyt at 1:57 PM on July 28, 2004

That was good, darren, but we must have missed your equivalent dumb condemnation of the peace-loving religon of Christianity when all those priests were raping kids. Would you like to give it for us now, while your amazing intellectual technique of stereotyping the many based on the few is at its most bigoted?

And funny, no word from darren on how our faith-based Commander-in-Chief rates on the peace-loving scale. Sucks when you're too busy to help out in Darfur because all your troops are tied up in the, uh, peace-loving invasion of another sovereign country.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 2:10 PM on July 28, 2004

Christians once pillaged and raped in the name of their God, so it's OK if Muslims do it now.

It's a bit of a stretch to see any "in the name of God" element to the Darfur crisis. This is Muslim-on-Muslim violence. There is an ethnic (Black African vs. Arab) element to the conflict, however.

I guess I'm not quite seeing what point you're trying to make, darren. Are you claiming that there is a religious element to what's happening in Darfur? Can you point me to any sources on that?
posted by mr_roboto at 2:11 PM on July 28, 2004

Another testamony to the peace-loving religion of Islam. [And please spare me the Christians-raping-during-the-Crusades diatribes]
posted by darren at 1:10 PM PST on July 28

You are a bigot who gets off on publicly dismissing major historical movements that you don't understand. Then you
lecture others on intellectual fatuousness.
posted by goethean at 2:12 PM on July 28, 2004

No, F&M, you're missing the unending beauty of the pre-emptive strawman. Not only is it a logical fallacy, but in this case it's a logical fallacy for an argument that isn't even under discussion, one he's trying to derail the thread with. It's kind of amazing in that sad way that makes me despondant. Somehow he's boiled this whole thing down to the evils of Islam, not an uncommon view amongst westerners, especially Americans.

I'd rather people ignored his comment instead of feeding the fire, but it's a hard thing to do. I was seconds away from responding earlier but declined doing so in hopes nothing would come of it.
posted by The God Complex at 2:18 PM on July 28, 2004

Ah, but then this is MetaFilter, where no turn good, bad or intellectually factuous, goes unstoned...

They still won't get it, but the continued inaction by the US on this should have convinced the last three or four people in America who actually believed Bush was invading Iraq in order to "help the people" that the moral standing of our venture there is nothing more than what it seems: posturing by a hypocritical self-styled Christian who has no more moral conviction than he has still-working braincells. Our silence and inaction in the Sudan are disgraceful.
posted by JollyWanker at 2:39 PM on July 28, 2004

Our The world's silence and inaction in the Sudan is disgraceful.

Was I too subtle the first time? ;)
posted by dhoyt at 2:42 PM on July 28, 2004

I'm actually kind of impressed that only two MeFites so far have taken an opportunity to incriminate the US government (and incidentally, no other national gov't!) for Sudan's problems. Where's the International Outrage™? What is, say, Russia doing to prevent the genocide? Canada? Germany? Britain? France? The surrounding African Countries? *crickets*
posted by dhoyt at 2:49 PM on July 28, 2004

the peace-loving religion of Islam

Some Muslims rape and kill people. Thus, all Muslims rape and kill people. Thus, the religion is the problem. I am not Muslim, therefor I do not rape and kill people. No non-Muslims rape and kill people.

Beautiful, stirring logic.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:58 PM on July 28, 2004

possibly tangentially related: Martha Nussbaum on Hindu/Muslim violence in Gujurat
posted by goethean at 2:58 PM on July 28, 2004

please note that Gujurat is in India, not Africa. Didn't want to cause confusion.
posted by goethean at 3:00 PM on July 28, 2004

The surrounding African Countries?

This is actually an interesting point of departure for conversation. The African Union carries many of the world's hopes for the establishment of a peaceful and stable Africa. Darfur has been the Union's first big test. They have, by just about any standard, failed this test, having done little but send in a team of "observers", protected by a contingent of 300 troops.

Still, if there is any standard by which this response could be viewed as a success, it is that of the old Organization for African Unity, the worthless, toothless organization that the AU replaced. It's nice to finally see at least a coherent attempt by African nations to defend peace on their continent, feeble as that attempt may be.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:19 PM on July 28, 2004

[And please spare me the Christians-raping-during-the-Crusades diatribes]

Crusades? Why go back so far when there are more recent examples. Unless Serbian Orthodox doesn't count as Christian.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 4:13 PM on July 28, 2004

i_am_joe's_spleen> Unless Serbian Orthodox doesn't count as Christian.

if'y'aint'pickin'up'serpents, y'ainta'krist'yen.
posted by snarfodox at 6:21 PM on July 28, 2004

Another testamony to the peace-loving religion of Islam.

There was this Rwanda thing a few years back. Perhaps you heard of it. Nearly 500,000 people died. Neither side was Muslim (in fact, both were predominantly Christian), but the few Muslims that were there sheltered the victims.
posted by laz-e-boy at 6:53 PM on July 28, 2004

Canada's role, so far:
  • Alan Rock, UN envoy, has ripped the UN a new one.
    "Such inexcusable delays put at risk the lives of those that this council is charged with protecting," he said. "The Security Council's moral authority is underpinned by its willingness to respond effectively and promptly to threats to international peace and security, and it must demonstrate greater resolve in addressing even sensitive and politically challenging situations."
  • Bill Graham, Foreign Minister, has told his Sudanese counterpart that their government must step in and act.
  • Paul Martin, PM, has communicate same to the Sudanese PM.

    AFAICT, we haven't sent troops/peacekeepers, because the Sudanese government is still a legitimate government, even if they do have their heads up their asses. Unlike our neighbour, we don't go about invading sovereign countries willy-nilly.

  • Nonetheless, it would be nice if the UN were to get its shit together and say enough is enough.
    posted by five fresh fish at 7:41 PM on July 28, 2004

    Canada also contributed 25 million dollars, which isn't enough but at least it's a start.
    posted by The God Complex at 8:13 PM on July 28, 2004

    I've been following this for a while. Here's a good site for more information.
    posted by john at 9:22 PM on July 28, 2004

    OK then. How 'bout...

    Another testamony to the peace-loving religion of Islam multiculturism and unfettered immigration.
    posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:48 PM on July 28, 2004

    Huh? It would be great if the government of Sudan embraced multiculturalism: the country would benefit greatly from a multicultural perspective. Unfortunately, the Sudanese government seems more interested in taking control of the oil fields in the South and the land in Darfur than they do in embracing the diversity of their populace. As for immigration, I don't think many people are interested in immigrating to Sudan--it's a mess. Maybe if there's a crisis in Chad....

    OK, hengeman: I've got to admit that I don't see the immigration angle here. Are you talking about the refugees in Chad? I don't think the Chadian government had much of a choice about taking those people in. Are you suggesting that things would have turned out better if Chad had somehow been able to keep the refugees out? That doesn't make much sense to me.
    posted by mr_roboto at 11:12 PM on July 28, 2004

    Another testamony to the peace-loving religion of Islam.

    [And please spare me the Christians-raping-during-the-Crusades diatribes]

    Nearly a million lives are at risk, tens of thousands of deaths are expected as soon as the rain comes and this is your response? Words fail me. Put simply, you are evil.

    For the rest of us, Médecins Sans Frontières are there in force. Please, please supporet their incredibly important work.
    posted by dmt at 7:37 AM on July 30, 2004

    Jesus. Someone tell me why the human race as a whole is not a vicious, stupid, destructive waste of oxygen.

    Okay, okay, I know. *makes donation to MSF*
    posted by jokeefe at 5:11 PM on July 30, 2004

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