In the U.S., we prosecute convicted rapists, right? Is this a deterrent? What if we did nothing?
Are there still vestiges of these lines of thinking: “It wasn’t rape because he’s her husband or She was asking for it by wearing that slutty dress.” or “She should have known better to be out after dark in that neighborhood?”
As girls and women, we have been so indoctrinated with comments like this that as victims, at times we blame ourselves: “What did I do to cause this? Was I too friendly? Should I not have done this or that?”
And then there are those who believe that it is in men’s nature to be easily sexually aroused, and it’s the females’ responsibility to apply the brakes. Additionally, there is a belief among some that women are inferior, not quite human, good for bearing children and meeting the needs of males. We know that changes in these attitudes are essential, but until this occurs, are we to do nothing?
At times we need a wake-up call, and “War and Rape” by Aryn Baker in the Nov. 16 issue of TIME gave me mine. The author went a step further by identifying action that I – and you – can take to help address in even a small way the horrific issue of rape in war.
Baker writes of the crime of rape in war zones where, for example, rape is not considered a crime, where virgin female children and even a three-month old infant are raped because of a perverted belief that having sexual intercourse with a virgin can bring wealth or healing from a disease to the perpetrator. She indicates that females of all ages are being raped and at times having guns fired in their vaginas or gun butts inserted there and of women being tied to the ground for easy sexual access for the next group of soldiers passing through.
These women have psychic wounds as well as damage to their private parts that is so severe that they can no longer control their urine or their bowels.
Some of these rape victims end up pregnant, and most of them are discarded, scorned, humiliated by their families and communities, cast out.
The TIME article reports that in July of 2015 “ a consortium of 56 international human-rights, legal, medical and religious groups from 22 countries petitioned President Barack Obama to issue an Executive Order affirming the rights of female war-rape victims to comprehensive medical care, including abortions, under the Geneva Conventions. So far, Obama has not officially responded.”
The need for this Executive Order comes from a 1973 U.S. law called the Helms Amendment that “prevents foreign-aid funds from going to programs that also provide abortions. Since most international humanitarian medical organizations rely in some part on U.S. funding, they are reluctant to take the risk, even if they believe there is a need.”
So you don’t believe in abortion: it’s against your moral or religious beliefs? But don’t these women have a right to make the decision on abortion for themselves? Further, if you cannot be moved from your position on abortion, I ask if you would support a program where you would take the mothers and their infant sons and daughters into your home since they have nowhere to go or perhaps provide dollars to house, feed, and clothe them in safe havens – if such places can be found?
Please take action now. Send me an email expressing your position by May 1. I will send all your comments to President Obama. Or send a letter to me at 1497 Nicklin Ave, Piqua, OH 45356. It’s the least we can do.
Vivian Blevins is a consultant for the Training Solutions Group Inc. who teaches courses in writing and literature for major telecom company employees. Reach her at (937) 778-3815 or firstname.lastname@example.org.