Guinea citizens raped violently during political protest
On Monday, the NY Times ran an article documenting the horrors of sexual violence in Guinea. I commend Adam Nossiter, the author, for writing the piece and the Times for running it on the front page; it is only with the help of the national news media that these atrocities can be exposed for what they are.
This is what happened: in the wake of a coup, citizens protested in a stadium. The demonstration was brutally crushed, and in its wake, witnesses are (and anonymously) coming forward about the use of rape and violence as political weapons.
Almost 50,000 people assembled to protest the actions of the leader of the military junta, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara. According to human rights organizations, at least 157 people were killed by government forces. But beyond that, witnesses have come forward, some with photographs taken with their cell phones, to describe the systematic use of rape as a weapon of violence, shame, and humiliation. This is a shame so penetrating that “victims are reluctant to speak, and local doctors refuse to do so.” It is astonishing to think that, had it not been for the courage of the witnesses who spoke out, these systematic rapes might never have been publicized.
Nossiter goes on to explain that “Rape is a fairly common tool of military repression in Africa, but large-scale violence against women has not been a previous government tactic here.” Events like these force us to consider how much degradation and human abuse is simply never covered in the media. But it’s when these abuses happen day in and day out for years on end that they become obsolete to the news media—it is a story with no ending, an article with no narrative. Not to mention the difficulty of writing a story about rape as a weapon of war when the women who are abused are too mortified to speak out.