Okay, I’m going to join many others in the blogger community and help the mass promotion of a very important cause, which is explained at length by Sheril Kirshenbaum at The Intersection , who writes:
Today begins a very important initiative called Silence Is The Enemy to help a generation of young women half a world away.Why? Because they are our sisters and children-the victims of sexual abuse who don’t have the means to ask for help. We have power in our words and influence. Along with our audience, we’re able to speak for them. I’m asking all of you-bloggers, writers, teachers, and concerned citizens-to use whatever platform you have to call for an end to the rape and abuse of women and girls in Liberia and around the world.In regions where fighting has formally ended, rape continues to be used as a weapon. As Nicholas Kristof recently wrote from West Africa, ‘it has been easier to get men to relinquish their guns than their sense of sexual entitlement.’ The war has shattered norms, training some men to think that ‘when they want sex, they need simply to overpower a girl.’ An International Rescue Committee survey suggests 12 percent of girls aged 17 and under acknowledged having been sexually abused in some way over the previous 18 months. Further, of the 275 new sexual violence cases treated Jan-April by Doctors Without Borders, 28 percent involve children aged 4 or younger, and 33 percent involve children aged 5 through 12. That’s 61% age 12 or under. We read about their plight and see the figures, but it’s so easy to feel helpless to act in isolation. But these are not statistics, they are girls. Together we can do more. Mass rape persists because of inertia so let’s create momentum.
Traditionally, an international issue was “serious” only if it was arcane and, preferably, incomprehensible. To be respected in foreign policy, it helped to smoke a pipe, spout theories about ballistic missiles, and frequently employ the word “hegemony.”Now pipes are passé, three of the last four secretaries of state have been women, and a new foreign policy agenda is emerging around issues like poverty, genocide, climate change and a topic that until recently was hushed up — sexual violence.
In modern times, we’ve seen mass rape as an element of warfare in Congo, Darfur, Bosnia, Rwanda, Liberia — but the lesson here in Liberia in West Africa is that even when the fighting ends, the rape continues.
I urge everyone to help raise awareness of these atrocities and the Silence Is The Enemy campaign.