Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Silence Is The Enemy

From Nicolas Kristof's blog:

When I’ve written about sexual violence in Darfur, Congo and, most recently, Liberia, I always get frustrated emails from readers: But what can I do?” [...]

Now there’s a push on the Web to galvanize attention to the issue and allocate resources to it. It’s called “Silence is the Enemy,” because the discomfort of talking about sexual violence has been one of the obstacles that has allowed the violence to continue.

When it comes to breaking the silence about sexual violence I believe that we should never solely concentrate on violence elsewhere no matter how severe or pervasive that sexual violence is.

The reason I believe this is simple. Sexual violence is rooted in thinking and if we don't deal with the thinking which causes rape in the safer environments then we have left the roots of this violence in place undisturbed. This root system will quickly respond whenever the societal systems that previously contained that violence break down. Any reduction in containment will be like fertilizer on a dormant weed.

If a soldier or aid worker brings the roots of sexual violence to a country like Liberia then the lack of controls on sexual violence means that this helper can easily become a perpetrator. Since many who are sexually violent rationalize their actions by favorably comparing their actions to the actions of others.

When sexual brutality is extreme this gives other sexually violent people plenty of room to be not nearly as bad as "those monsters." We must not let the horrific be the reason we tolerate the traumatic.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:11 AM   0 comments links to this post


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