Somalia: women raped with impunity

The three Somali women sat huddled together in a corner of an empty, dusty room in a camp for displaced people in northern Somalia, their faces etched with grief and resignation.

They were all rape victims. Two of them had been gang-raped, by up to six men.


Roberta Russo from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees works with young Somali women who are victims of rape. She told me the perpetrators are all too frequently young men in the towns surrounding the camp.

The only way some of these young women can earn a few cents a day is collecting rubbish.

“The internally displaced girls often have to go far away to isolated places where men attack them,” Ms Russo tells me.

A prominent campaigner against sex attacks talked to me passionately and with commitment about the difficulties of bringing prosecutions against the perpetrators.

There are not enough police and frankly, she said, the police sometimes colluded in the attacks or carried them out themselves.

Meanwhile the UN worried about Islamophobia

Australia and Canada: More gang-rapes

Certainly no recent news:

When a number of teenage Australian girls were subjected to hours of sexual degradation during a spate of gang rapes in Sydney that occurred between 1998 and 2002, the perpetrators of these assaults framed their rationale in ethnic terms. The young victims were informed that they were “sluts” and “Aussie pigs” while they were being hunted down and abused.

So when I read this (via):

Middle Eastern

Two youths (who are described as “Middle Eastern”, an euphemism very broadly used in Australia to describe Muslims, as most of them come from the area) are wanted by police over the sexual assault of a teenage girl at a western Sydney shopping centre on Christmas Eve. …”The girl went with the males to a nearby shopping centre where she was taken to a fire stairwell in a car park on level seven,” police said in a statement.

And this:

In the first case of sexual assault in the New Year, the five men allegedly gang-raped the women in their early 20s in their hotel in downtown Toronto on New Year’s Day.They had met the two women at a New Year’s party in the city. At the end of the party at 3 a.m., the five men accompanied the women uninvited to their hotel in the heart of the city where they overpowered them and allegedly gang-raped them….. And they fled after the sexual assault.

But they were identified by the women from the photos taken at the event. When their pictures appeared on TV channels and in newspapers, the five men surrendered to police Wednesday.

I just think: this is far from over.