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]
10/17/2014 Student Activists Across the Country Are Fighting Extreme Anti-Abortion Ballot Measures - In Tennessee, North Dakota, and Colorado - three states deciding ballot measures aimed at restricting birth control access and outlawing abortion in the upcoming election - student activists are mobilizing to get out the vote.
Members of student-ledFeminist Majority Leadership Alliancegroup Vanderbilt Feminists at Vanderbilt University have been working tirelessly to get out the word about Tennessee's Amendment 1, which would take the right of privacy for reproductive rights out of the state constitution and give local legislators the power to restrict access to abortion, even in the case of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman, and outlaw many forms of birth control, such as the IUD or the pill. . . .