Friday, February 22, 2013

Do you know Zenaib Hawa Bangura ?

If you are at all affiliated with the UN or ever hope to , you should know her. The title is Special Representative On Sexual Violence in Conflict and the position has been created because countries in conflict are using sexual violence as a war tactic. Don't be shocked! This kind of violence has been around for a long time, Ms. Bangura told us. The problem is not going away and that's where she comes in. Millenium Development  Goal number 3 is gender equality. And Ms.Bangura is working toward this goal with gusto.
She has a strong desire to speak to colleges and universities because she knows this problem is bigger than her and spreading the truth will grow advocacy and students might have a fresh and new idea might help generate solutions. In just this one briefing, she mentioned that in Burundi, if a woman is raped, she must feed the perpetrator until time of his trial. I wonder how many women tried to poison their assalants! In another country, the woman must marry the man who raped her. Some recent news that Ms. Bangura mentioned was the woman in Somalia that reported her rape and she, her husband , a newspaper reporter (that interviewed her) and 2 other people were arrested! The newspaper reporter did not even publish the story. Silencing women, silencing the press will not help this problem go away. One thing Bangura does is lay the facts in front of country leaders in order to help them admit the problem. The problem is so big and so few women are willing to talk about it, it is a huge undertaking.
 It looks like, Ms. Bangura is the right woman for the job. She comes from Sierra Leon in Africa. She is all too familiar with war and everything that comes with it. She knows conflict and she doesn't hide from it. She explains,"This is a human issue,not just a woman issue." It used to be war was fought between nations. Now war is fought within nations. Within these nations, women and children are being raped time and time again. Horrendous things are being done to their bodies all in the name of war. Bangura is spreading awareness, advocating education for the women and looking for ways to end this violence toward women. She is a gifted speaker, a passionate leader, and graceful human being. In her eloquence, I believe she is  going to make major strides. In her words, if she can end rape in conflict, even if it's on her last day, she will be happy.

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