Thursday, October 21, 2004

Is This A Choice?

In Darfur, Sudan, women in the refugee camps must often choose between rape and survival. Pamela Shifman's diary on the UNICEF website contains this:

"We spent some time asking women and girls about their lives in the camps and about the problems they are facing. Their first answer was: We need security, we are not safe.

Several women told us of enduring horrible violence when they were forced to flee. They told stories of rape and beating and killing--many had lost family members and had witnessed rape and killing in front of their eyes.
And then they told us that in the camps they now must call home, they are still not safe. So many women told the same story: they are terrified to leave to get firewood. Firewood is absolutely necessary for their survival and the survival of their children. And the nearly all day trip to collect the wood is fraught with danger. Soldiers prey on women and girls along the path to collect firewood. And the cruel part is, the women and the girls have no choice but to take that dangerous path for their very survival.

People in Darfur have experienced hell on earth. Isn't it time to let them be safe, at least for a little while?