Nick Kristof’s recent column discusses the continuing problem of systematic rape and ethnic cleansing in the Darfur region in Sudan, Africa. (Warning: The column is about the continuing genocide, and Kristof’s descriptions are about as graphic as a family newspaper gets).
Here in the refugee shantytowns of Darfur, the horrific stories that young women whisper are not of random criminality but of a systematic campaign of rape to terrorize civilians and drive them from “Arab lands” – a policy of rape.
. . .
Gang rape is terrifying anywhere, but particularly so here. Women who are raped here are often ostracized for life, even forced to build their own huts and live by themselves. In addition, most girls in Darfur undergo an extreme form of genital cutting . . . [which] make[s] sexual assault a particularly violent act, and the resulting injuries increase the risk of H.I.V. transmission.
. . .
I’m still chilled by the matter-of-fact explanation I received as to why it is women who collect firewood, even though they’re the ones who are raped. The reason is an indication of how utterly we are failing the people of Darfur, two years into the first genocide of the 21st century. “It’s simple,” one woman here explained. “When the men go out, they’re killed. The women are only raped.”
Kristof suggests that “this policy of rape flourishes only because it is ignored.”
As church members, as Christians, as human beings, we need to take action.
E-mail the LDS Senators: Utah (Hatch and Bennett), Idaho (Crapo), Nevada (Reid) and Oregon (Smith).
Keep updated. For instance, there are blogs about Darfur that discuss the continuing problems.
Donate to aid organizations, such as those listed here.
Discuss the situation with friends, family, co-workers. Discuss it with your ward members and church leaders. Write about it on your blog.
And pray. Pray for the women and men of Darfur.