These little girls have the right to safety, freedom from harm, healthy childhoods and love. Their innocence to be protected so they can grow into strong healthy women.
They are showing support for a UN campaign to stop sexual violence against women in conflicts.
The unseen, devastating epidemic of systematic sexual violence against women, voiceless and already traumatised by war, and conflict.
It must stop. Now.
This is Elizabeth's story....
As Elizabeth and her captors arrived at the militia camp, she realized that dozens of other girls had also been kidnapped. "When we got there we were so many," she said. "We were taken into the bush, when a big man came and took me."
Life with the Mayi Mayi, an ethnic milita in Kenya, was a nightmare of almost continuous abuse. "All they did was come and 'take' us often. They used to tie up the women and tie their husbands to trees then take us [the girls]," the 17-year-old told IRIN." I stayed with them for so long and it didn't matter any more who took me."
Elizabeth's ordeal happened in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), but it could well have been in Sierra Leone, Liberia or a variety of other countries. Wherever there is armed conflict, there are stories like hers, stories of rape, of trauma; stories of unimaginable horror, of girls and women who have been gang-raped, held indefinitely as sex-slaves, beaten, mutilated, killed. Sometimes the victims are in their 70s or 80s, sometimes they are younger women, or teenagers. Some are as young as six months old.
Source: IRIN - humanitarian news and analysis - a service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
A study, published in June 2011 by the American Journal of Public Health, revealed that about 48 women are raped every hour in the Democratic Republic of Congo, totaling more than 1,100 women every day.
“It is more dangerous to be a woman than to be a soldier in modern conﬂict.” Patrick Cammaert (2008, former Deputy Force Commander of the United Nations Mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo [MONUC])" Read More