Dear respected US President Barack Obama, Secretary Hillary Clinton, Vice President Biden, and US Senators,
As IVAWA voting approaches, I am writing to beg and encourage you to pass this important act for the benefit of women and girls everywhere.
Somali women suffered our share of rape during and after the civil war. Today we suffer as refugees in foreign camps. Rape is a taboo topic, a four-letter word. And for the women who have to bear its ugly pain, it is a lifetime sentence handed down repeatedly by neighbors, friends, and compatriots.
On September 29th, at 8:00 pm two unidentified men with guns came to the house of a well-respected housewife—a 40-year-old mother to five kids who resided in the Garsoor sector of North Galkaio. They took her to an unknown place, beat her, raped her, and left her there.
In October, a housewife slept happily in her home, not expecting harm from her beloved husband, though they had argued earlier that day. As she slept, he came at her with a knife, cut her tongue so that she could not scream for help, and then he cut her body into pieces. He didn’t even run. Instead, he went to a farm where he had worked and spent the night there. In the morning the police found him and put him in jail. But the husband’s clan came to his side; they argued that it was only a woman who had been killed.
This man had his clan to defend his right to murder a woman. But who will defend this woman’s right to life? Who will give her justice? Who will fight for the other women who lose their lives or who are violated every day?
Women in my country cannot walk alone after 6:00pm for fear of being kidnapped, raped, or assaulted. In 11 months (from January till November, 2010), 120 rape cases were reported in stable cities—what of the cities that are still burning? We cannot know, we cannot imagine the numbers. How many women and girls suffer out there silently? How many women and girls have lost any hope of getting justice?
In my community, the rights of all women have been violated and nobody is fully committed to taking action. We suffer silently. I want to raise my voice as well as the voices of the many voiceless women and girls in my community.
Mr. President, as a powerful leader from a powerful country, I urge you to help pass this act. The women of the world know that you have the power and capability to help women and girls across nations.
I am waiting to hear good news.
Ruun Abdi Puntland, Somalia