Systematic Rape of Women and Girls in Sierra Leone
Thousands of women and girls in Sierra Leone have been the victims of a systematic assault by rebels who had sought to overthrow the West African nation's government. Human rights workers compare the atrocities to the 1992-1995 Bosnian war, where women were similarly targeted, captured, and subjected to gang rape and sexual servitude, but note that the conflict in Sierra Leone "has received far less attention."
Women in Sierra Leone who were considered particularly attractive were often forced into domestic (as well as sexual) servitude. Many of the women were under 14 or over 45; many girl victims of this violence either became pregnant or died as a result of rape. In addition, the war of terror against women has brought an increase in sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, among females. AIDS and HIV testing is unavailable in Sierra Leone because of prohibitive cost and lack of treatment resources for those who test positive.
The rebel group, the Revolutionary United Front, has been effectively cleared of these crimes due to a recent cease-fire agreement that included a blanket amnesty for human rights violations. The peace agreement also called for the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission and a national human rights commission, but neither has been achieved to date. Some government and UN sources say that the rebels may still hold thousands of women in remote areas.
Media Resources: The Washington Post - 11 April, 2000 and Human Rights Watch, Website Report]
1/23/2015 #HeForShe Campaign Launches Pilot Effort Aimed at Institutional Equality - The United Nations' gender equality campaign #HeForShe has launched a new program called IMPACT 10X10X10.
United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, together with UN Women Executive DirectorPhumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, introduced the one-year pilot effort aimed at encouraging corporations, universities, and governments to play an active role in enhancing women's empowerment and equality in Davos, Switzerland today at the World Economic Forum.
"Women need to be equal participants in our homes, societies, in our governments, and in our workplaces," Watson said.
First introduced in September, HeForShe is a solidarity movement that calls on men and boys to confront gender inequalities that face women and girls globally. . . .
1/22/2015 BREAKING: House to Vote on Abortion Coverage Ban - After they were forced to scrap plans for a 20-week abortion ban, House Republican leaders decided late last night to instead ram through a vote today on a different extreme anti-abortion bill.
House Republicans are now pushing HR 7, a bill promoted as a ban on federal funding of abortion that would actually prevent women from using their own money to purchase health insurance that includes abortion care. . . .
1/22/2015 House Cancels Abortion Ban After GOP Congresswomen Drop Support - House Republicans cancelled plans to vote on a 20-week ban on abortion after Republican Congresswomen removed their names publicly as co-sponsors of the bill.
The vote on the unconstitutional 20-week ban had originally been scheduled for today, the anniversary of Roe v. . . .