Blowin’ in the Wind.

“She said they removed their scarves and used it to tie them up and were taking turns to rape them.  One is 13 years old; the other one is 16.”

The women and children in Darfur are currently being victimized and subjected to one of the worst tools of ethnic cleansing; repeated and violent rape.  According to CNN, girls as young as four have been subjected to this horrifying form of torture.

While reading Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth, I was most interested in the differences between her experiences of war as a white, western woman compared to that of the victims of gender bias in Darfur.  Brittain, while undergoing extreme emotional distress and faced with the stress of her patients’ injuries on a daily basis, at least did not face the horrors of living in a war zone, and being subjected to the threat of violence and mutilation on a daily basis.

Brittain tells Roland in one of her early letters, “I picture to myself…Mother’s absolute horror if she could have seen me at 9:15 the other night dashing about and dodging traffic in the slums of Camberwall Green, in the pitch dark of course…It is quite thrilling to be an unprotected female and feel that no one in your immediate surroundings is particularly concerned with what happens to you (213).”  As a young English woman, she has been brought up with the notion that female virginity should be protected.  Her words imply that women of her class do not go about, even at the best of times, with out some form of male companionship, for fear they may be harmed.

Many men in Sudan will no longer accompany the women they know out side of the home, because of the increasing likeliness of being attacked and killed if they defend their loved ones from becoming victims of sexual crimes.

Though Vera is writing from a different time, almost 100 years prior to the conflict of Darfur, it is still relevant to think about race, class, and nationality in relation to sexual crimes.  Rape is one of, if not the most, frequently used form of torture in Darfur.  These women and children have no voice, no protection from an extremely heinous form of violence.

It is my opinion that bringing relief to these victims should be a top priority of the UN.  That America, a country that came to the defense of the oppressed in Iraq, should be more interested in what is happening in Darfur.  Not because in providing some relief we may find oil, but because these are unspeakable crimes that should not be permitted to happen in a world as enlightened as ours.  As members of the United Nations, a group dedicated to protecting the basic humane rights of all the world’s people, we should demand intervention, and a means to bring this atrocious behavior to an end.

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Published in: on February 11, 2009 at 12:53 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I thought the connection you made between Vera Brittain’s view of the importance of preserving her virginity, purness and feminintiy by not having to do such tasks as trapse through the rain on the way to work to the women in Darfur was very interesting. As you stated, although from a much different time period, the issue of difference in class, race, social standing, etc. does indeed influence the lives of women. For example, during Vera Brittain’s lifetime, she did not fear going outside with her male family members or father for fear they would be killed for trying to protect her, and then raped. Althgouh the situations are much different, they have similarities. As a woman with strong opinions about the role of the woman in the world, and more importantly, changing the inequality amoung men and women, i agree that it should be a priority for the UN. Amoung the long list of tasks, i realize this may seem to be of lesser importance than other issues, but i feel that innocent women being victimized, killed, and raped, it should be an absolute priority. Women and especially children do not have a voice often times, and sometimes not at all.

  2. […] Jaimee […]


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