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A Civil War against Women 26 Jul 2010

Watching the ABC’s Four Corners programme, Heart of Darkness last night I was struck by the fact that this massive level of rape going on in the Democratic Republic of Congo is really a civil war against women. The DRC has been continuously exploited as a nation for its mineral wealth by Western countries and the minerals that make our mobile phones vibrate are just the latest theft of wealth (background reading on the Congo).

The DRC is not alone in its high levels of rape against women. In Nigeria women fear to use the communal toilets because they fear sexual assault. And what about our own countries where despite laws on the books against rape, it is a crime that occurs daily?

The UN is ineffective. They have reduced the word rape to a bureaucratic acronym that makes you feel nothing: GBSV. I’ve had many a friend scratch their head wondering what this might be short for. Amnesty has put out many press releases about violence against women all around the world. Still nothing happens.

In the meantime, pornography is sold on street corners and in milk bars and petrol stations. Girls and women are increasingly sexualised. So-called progressive males keep up their call for an end to censorship so they can get their rocks off. They call for legalisation of prostitution so women can be legally sold a hundred years after the end of slavery.

And that acronym: gender based sexual violence. Let’s call it for what it is. A perfectly good and understandable four-letter word: RAPE. It is violence against women. It is a war against women. On every level of civil society: between nations, within nations, within communities and families – it is a civil war against women.

Associated Author: Susan Hawthorne

Comments
I watched the four corners program last night, and I found it to be hard going. I am a feminist and as such, am constantly trying to raise awareness about violence against women and children in all of its forms. What happens to women and children in DRC is right off the scale compared to what happens to women and children in Australia. Violence is not ok in any country. I acknowledge that sexual abuse is still a taboo here and not readily discussed. It goes on relatively unreported and/or un-prosecuted, but the level of violence against women by men was astounding and the reality that these women where then held responsible for abuse they had no control over? It is truly a civil war against women...and so very sad.
Posted by Cath | 27 Jul 2010

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