Posts Tagged: ‘rape’

At face value, VAWA might seem like a no-brainer, bipartisan initiative to support, especially considering its background and stated intention. But nearly 20 years later, some conservative politicians and voters alike oppose reauthorization because they tend to disagree with the gendered nature of the legislation as well as its proposed $659 million price tag.

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The Peace Corps, America’s 50-year-old goodwill-building arm, is coming under increasing scrutiny lately for its treatment of volunteers who are victims of rape during their time abroad. The New York Times is reporting that as many as 221 Peace Corps volunteers were raped or the victims of attempted rape between 2000 and 2009. Another 1,000 were the victims of other types of sexual assault.

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Hillary Clinton’s recently visited the Democratic Republic of Congo (aka, the DRC, Congo, Zaire), a nation that has seen an internal war result in the death of five million inhabitants (more than six percent of the DRC’s current population) since 1996. Clinton’s visit was intended to spotlight the increasingly growing problem of rape as a tool of cultural control and torture among the Congolese. NPR reported that from a refugee camp, Secretary Clinton pledged $17 million in aid to combat rape in the DRC. That amount should help tremendously, but it also seems wincingly paltry in the era of TARP and $2 billion in Cash for Clunkers vouchers.

I can’t think of too many things more insidious than rape as a weapon or tool of war. It’s arguably much worse than murder: the dead move on; the raped are disowned by their families and ostracized by their communities. Somewhere around 200,000 women and girls have been raped in the villages and cities of the Congo by factions on both sides of the conflict over the past 12 years. That figure got me to wondering exactly which war-torn nation had the dubious title of the rape capital of the world. Perhaps it was the DRC, perhaps Sudan. I found after a moment’s research that I actually live in a nation ranked by NationMaster per capita near the top.

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