Syria Cries Her Daughters

Posted March 8, 2013 from Syrian Arab Republic

As the war in Syria grows uglier, more civilians are fleeing their homes to neighboring countries. The majority of these refugees are women and children. These refugees not only fear missiles, cluster bombs, warplanes and SCUDS, but they are escaping rape as it became "a significant and disturbing feature by the Syrian civil war" according to International Rescue Committee. Recently, the head of Syrian National Coalition - main Syrian opposition bloc - Mr. Moaz Al Khatib called the Syrian regime to release women detainees from Syrian regime's prisons as a sign of good intentions and a precondition to launch negotiations for a transitional government to rule post-Assad Syria, the call was mocked and refused by Syrian regime. There are many women kept hostage by the Syrian security forces in order to force their male relatives or acquaintances to turn themselves in. On the 5th of February 2013, The Syrian Network for Human Rights said that about 4057 women were killed, with a margin of 1009. There are about 1200 disappeared women. In my opinion, the number is much more than that.

Horrifying accounts of rape

Like their fellow men, Syrian women are doomed to face the same abhorrent treatment and horrifying situations by regime forces. Women, as well as men and children, are raped. Women detainees are kept in dark and damp cells usually withouts vents. These cells are shared with cockroaches and rats. One woman said that she was denied of using pads during her monthly period which made her use trash for this purpose, as a result she developed a reproductive disease. Another witness said that her jailers used to urinate in the mouths of the women imprisoned with her to break their phycology.[1]

A witness told BBC[2] what happened to her fellow prisoner, a rat was forced inside her "He pushed a rat in her vagina, she was screaming. Afterwards we saw a blood on the floor. He told her:'Is this good enough for you?' They were mocking her. It was obvious that she was in agony. We could see her, after that she no longer lived."

There is no official number of raped women in Syria. Many women are hushed by shame, guilt and fear of punishment. These women cannot come open because they might risk being outcasted by their families and communities. One female doctor in Damascus the capital of Syria, said that she contacted 2000 women that were raped by regime's soldiers. Hearing such number in a city that considered till recently relatively stable make me think of the cities and towns that were raided at and attacked by Syrian forces.

Cause and Effect

Those who know the nature of the Syrian regime will know that it always employed the filthiest ways to manipulate the traditions and habits of different communities and incite them against each others. As women are considered a symbol of honor, security officers and soldiers target this symbol to humiliate these women and their families in order to punish and shut them up. But this will only tear up the fabric of society in Syria. Vendetta is common in rural areas, the families of the raped women will not spare the lives of those who brought shame for them, and the spread of arms will make easier. This might be a setback in the efforts of reconciliation.

Shame is a main factor for women in Syria that prevent them from reporting what happened to them, and thus, turn down the possibility of helping them to seek psychological treatment and healing. There is also the fact that their government is raping them, so who will bring justice to these women even if they knew their rapists? Soldiers and security forces know that they will get away with it, if not rewarded.

There are a number of extreme cases of raped women killed by their fathers to clean their honor. Many forced marriages are currently taking place inside and outside Syria. Suicide may expand, one teenage girl committed suicide after she was arrested and raped. [3]

The shame is on UN

The Syrian American Council started a petition urging First Lady Michelle Obama to denounce the assaults on women in Syria. Those who would like to participate can sign here.

Honestly, I do not believe that the international community is not able to do more for Syrians. UN Security Council fell short from stopping the escalating violence in Syria because some countries' interests like Russia and China are more important than human lives and women's future. UN call for collecting about $1.5 billion ended up with only %20 of it. Many announcements of donations and aid are not fulfilled.

The shame is not on the victims, its on those who fell short from stopping such repulsive actions against women in the third millennium. The Shame is on the five countries in the UN security council, the shame is on Iran and its mercenaries, the shame on all of us who could, but won't.





Comments 5

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Mar 11, 2013
Mar 11, 2013

Women are the backbone of communities and warring groups know that if you rape the women, you destroy the community. In conflict areas, they say it is more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in armed combat. It is a form of ethnic cleansing weakening the integrity of the opposing group. Rape is used to punish, humiliate, and control opposing groups by causing women and children to flee their homes (leading to fragmentation of communities), destabilizing communities and sowing terror.

The UN Security Council has noted that “women and girls are particularly targeted by the use of sexual violence, including as a tactic of war to humiliate, dominate, instil fear in, disperse and/or forcibly relocate civilian members of a community or ethnic group.” They demanded the “immediate and complete cessation by all parties to armed conflict of all acts of sexual violence against civilians" yet in recent years, when has the UN ever proven to be effective in preventing or stopping wars?

One reason why few countries seem unwilling to tackle this is that they see it as a crime against individual women rather than a strategy of war. Yet this has been going on for more than a century and one wonders how many more women must suffer before the world wakes up and cries out "Enough!".

Jana Potter
Mar 10, 2013
Mar 10, 2013

Dear Hummingbird, I read the news of Syria each day with you in my heart. I cannot imagine the terror and agony. The plight of Syrian women which you describe is beyond horrific. I second Janice's wise comments. She is right. It is far passed time for the world to cry out enough!! The sisters of World Pulse certainly join that call as do all of us who had the honor of meeting you on your US tour. I do not have enough words to tell you how I ache for you.

Mar 11, 2013
Mar 11, 2013

Hmn. Its sad. I am short of words/

Oh women, my sisters in Syria! I cant understand what they are going through, i continue to wonder why the world is keeping silent.

EK. Chemorion
Mar 12, 2013
Mar 12, 2013

Sister Humm,

I read this story with a lot of pain..........i read and i cant finish a sentence without asking myself what has become of humanity?? .....i can only imagine what my sisters and the vulnerable are going through. I am lost for words........and cant stop to empathize with my Syrian sisters....This is truly sad.

many questions ----------no answers!!

where are the eyes to see this ugly scene in Syria??? where are the ears to hear the cries of women in agony???? and where are the golden hearts to feel and understand make sense for me of what is going on?? where are the world people who advocate for peace and justice?? where are those who hold the sanctity of life i high esteem??? we need us and the world to stand in solidarity with our sisters and!! this is too much for us!

Apr 11, 2013
Apr 11, 2013

On daily base we remeber Syira we wonder what if it were us and we remain still doing nothing but pray that this come to an end soon. Shame on us. Ola