Rape, war instills fear, devastates women, children

By Nina Cestaro, Staff Writer

When one is asked to think of reasons to oppose the United State’s renewed intervention in Afghanistan, one readily thinks of having our soldiers sent to their graves.

But does anyone ever give thought to the decades of damage done to women and children?

War hits the poorest and most vulnerable the hardest.

Because rape is used as strategic weapon to guarantee victory over contested boundaries, women are not safe in Afghanistan.

The reason sexual violence is used against women is because of the way it humiliates women, stigmatizes people and ensures communities will be filled with fear and be easier to control.

This kind of brutality blasts families apart, kills communities and destroys lives.

Due to the shock of experiencing these horrific sexual crimes, many thousands of women in turn deal with a physical, psychological and financial turmoil.

While rape is categorized as a war crime in places where wars rage on, violence against women is still pervasive domestically.

As the war on women increases abroad, so too does it increase in the United States.

In this country a women is raped every 90 seconds. In a study asking teenage girls about their first sexual experience, 25 percent claimed to have been raped.

One of five women will be the victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime.

This goes part in parcel with a culture wherein women are devalued in so many ways.

Wage discriminatory practices and very brief maternity leave policies for new mothers maintain a patriarchal system.

This teaches young men to treat the women around them as somewhat inferior. How do we end this cycle?

The only fact we do know is the damaging effects of war cannot be simply understood as what right-wing pundits call collateral damage.

Nor measured by the profit margins of the military industrial complex.

Women and male and female children must live through the most dangerous aspects of war.

Victims usually with no ties to the conflict then being in that particular are of the world.

And who is held accountable?

Americans owe it to ourselves to ally with women who speak out against the sex crimes inflicted upon them and seek to make this a safer world for every child and woman to live.