Rape Victims Deserve to Live with Dignity
In July, this year, I met a Ugandan Red Cross worker who assists Rwandan Nationals who try to take refuge in Uganda. I was flabbergasted when I was told that one of the rape victims told him, "I know I can't stop being raped repeatedly but at least help me to abort every time the rape results in forced pregnancy. I don't want to bring up and nurture the reminders of the pain and abuse I go through."
Repeated rapes are common war crimes in this part of the world. Women are abducted, taken to militia camps, molested and are forced to live in the most challenging living conditions. Sometimes, they die without ever getting any medical help or seeing their dear ones again.
Rapes and abuse are not only limited to this region or to women. Little children, both boys and girls and vulnerable men are also targeted by molesters.
What can we as individuals do to support these victims? We probably can't prevent all the rapes in the world but we can at least promise ourselves that we would be less judgmental and more supportive towards these victims. We would try to educate people in our respected societies that rape victims have the right to life with dignity.
The first thing that we need to do in order to support them is to change our perspective. We need to see them as survivors and not as victims. Secondly, we must explore small steps along with a rape survivor that will lead him/her to the path of recovery. In order to do this, we must provide a safe space to this person/s where they can express themselves without any fear, cry for what they have lost, be angry about what happened, celebrate the chance to live and focus on their strengths. With some support, our friends will very soon be moving forward in life.
Let us come together to support those who are oppressed and spread peace in the process.