Hilary Clinton is on the eve of an official visit with the new Somali president, Hassan Sheik Mohamud, and there is no time like the present for the Secretary of State to finally do the right thing and stand up for rape victims in Muslim majority countries. Too many woman have suffered brutal rapes and then paid with their lives when they went to the authorities to seek justice.
The world reacted in horror over the images taken on October 27, 2012 when 1000 spectators packed a stadium in southern port city of Kismayo to watch dozens of armed men stone a 13-year-old girl to death for daring to report her rape to the police. Armed Muslim militants dragged her screaming from the local jail, charged her with adultery, and brutally pelted the child with rocks as sport for a cheering crowd.
There is no excuse for this sort of behavior. The entire world is well aware of the persecution of woman and homosexuals in Muslim nations, yet Ms. Clinton has done little to nothing on their behalf. Now, after the incredibly disgusting fatal gang rape of a young Hindu woman in India, the entire planet is watching as Ms. Clinton is presented with a perfect opportunity to confront the abysmal situation in Somalia.
Lisa Shannon threw down the gauntlet on the treatment of rape victims in Somalia with her article in the NY Times about the most recent appalling rape in the troubled African nation. Al Jazeera ran a devastating report on Somalia’s rape crisis, highlighted by the vile treatment of a woman who dared to go to the police to report she had been raped by a gang of soldiers in uniform.
Instead of assisting the woman or charging the suspects, the government soldiers arrested and interrogated the woman and her husband. The woman was eventually released, but her husband was held for more than a week. The victim was ordered to report daily to Somali Central Investigation Department for further interrogation, her lawyer is in prison awaiting charges for defending her, and a local reporter who wrote about the case was also arrested.
Al Jazeera reported the horrifying details of another rape that took place in a Somali refugee camp, where woman are regularly dragged screaming from their tents and raped.
“Nura Hirsi is a young widow living in an IDP camp of West Mogadishu. She says she was raped by seven government soldiers when they forced entry into her home on Saturday, December 29.
“It was 1am, my children were sleeping when these men entered my house. Some of them were armed with AK47s. They slapped me, ordered me outside and raped me. They did all kind of things to me. I couldn’t fight them or defend myself. How could I against seven armed men?”
There is no excuse for Hillary Clinton to ignore this issue a moment longer. She must speak out and demand justice for the thousands of Somali woman who have been raped and are too afraid to even report the crime to the police. The women of the Africa and the Middle East deserve to live free from fear of rape and free from fear of retribution or death for demanding justice. Enough is Enough.