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Libyan Rape Victims Murdered By Their Families

Libyan Rape Victims Murdered By Their Families

I wrote last week about the terrifying possibility that Colonel Gadhafi’s soldiers could be using rape as a weapon of war – and even exacerbating their efforts with Viagra.  Now, Pascale Harter of the BBC is reporting on what happens to the victims of rape in Libya, especially the women who become pregnant as a result of the sexual attack.  According to aid workers, many of these women are murdered by their families in honor killings.

“In Libya when rape occurs, it seems to be a whole village or town which is seen to be dishonoured,” Arafat Jamal, an employee of the United Nations’ refugee agency, explained.

The most distressing aspect of these horrible killings is the fact that the families think they are helping the women they murder – by protecting them from dishonor.

“To be seen naked and violated is worse than death for them,” said Hana Elgadi, who is part of a group of volunteers offering medical aid and HIV tests. “This is a region where women will not go out of the house without covering their face with a veil.”

Elgadi says that her group is offering abortions to women who have become pregnant as a result of rape, a practice which she says has been sanctioned by Islamic law.

More women desperately need medication for HIV after being raped by Gadhafi’s forces.  The implications of systematic rape are clear – not only do they destroy families, causing parents to kill their daughters, they have long-term health implications for the women who do survive.  Although as Harter’s article shows, there are significant challenges for the aid workers in Libya who are trying to help women escape honor killings and gain medical treatment, we need to do more to support them in their efforts to save Libya’s women.

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Photo from B.R.Q.'s Flickr photostream.

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122 comments

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8:07PM PDT on Oct 4, 2011

The world has come to this. How barbaric.

6:22PM PDT on Oct 4, 2011

I can only think of one question ,,, ""Why do the women stay there??""

They should either get out of town or start banding together to get something done.. They dang sure don't have any trouble speaking up in America..

6:28AM PDT on Oct 4, 2011

What a weird and wonderful religion ,these weak spineless , poor excuses for men ,stalk and rape an innocent young girl,keep her prisoner and continually rape her for 4 days,how is she reponsible for that?and she is to blame ,these snivelling gutless cowards ,they ruin a young girls life and she has to die,wheres the logic in that?,and these filthy blots on humanity get off ,free to rape again ,this is such a travesty of justice??these men are the ones with no 'Honour"
they hide behind their indoctrinated religion ,I don't want this mentality in my country.I to have seen the story of the Stoning of Sorraya M,sad true story ,this is the first time that we in the in the West were made aware of how this primitive thinking controls women in these backward countries.

11:28AM PDT on Aug 28, 2011

If this is civilization give me my infidel ways and laws.

5:24AM PDT on Aug 27, 2011

Honor Killings give No Honor! They are Barbaric and almost always involve killing a woman; even though a man has caused the 'dishonor' to the family. Please watch the Iranian movie called, 'The Stoning of Soraya M." It's in English and shows just how these honor killing cases are determined by the village elders. The results are always biased against the women and the man walks free. It's also a good way to get rid of an unwanted wife. By the way, this is a true story. Authorities are reluctant to step in and protect the rights of these women because it would be a sign of disrespect to the males of the family; also most of these cultures are very tribal and they are often related in some way. Honor killings have been going on since before Jesus so I doubt things will ever change in our lifetimes. I can only hope and try to help.

5:21AM PDT on Aug 27, 2011

Honor Killings give No Honor! They are Barbaric and almost always involve killing a woman; even though a man has caused the 'dishonor' to the family. Please watch the Iranian movie called, 'The Stoning of Soraya M." It's in English and shows just how these honor killing cases are determined by the village elders. The results are always biased against the women and the man walks free. It's also a good way to get rid of an unwanted wife. By the way, this is a true story. Authorities are reluctant to step in and protect the rights of these women because it would be a sign of disrespect to the males of the family; also most of these cultures are very tribal and they are often related in some way. Honor killings have been going on since before Jesus so I doubt things will ever change in our lifetimes. I can only hope and try to help.

6:03PM PDT on Aug 26, 2011

Honor killings are murder.

6:58AM PDT on Jul 31, 2011

This is so terrible. Why don't the families help the victims? Why do they kill their own wifes, daughters and sisters? Always when i hear about terrible things it makes med sad, and i cannot understand how someone could do something terrible - hurt, rape or kill a person or animal. When i was a child this also happened to me... and surviving this is more terrible than not (parents and other may think different, but a victim?), living with all this pain... living with guilty feelings... full with hate for the own self
No one can understand, because most people cannot imagine this, cannot imagine how much it change. Some of them think, that this would not be so terrible, because all would make some sexual experiences, and so it would not matter if there were some without own interest or wish. This cruel and superficial society makes me sick.

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers." (Martin Luther King)

10:57AM PDT on Jul 18, 2011

These poor women of Libya have no control over their lives. The human race sinks lower...

12:07PM PDT on Jul 10, 2011

If there is a problem with my believing the American Press, I can only say the American press has a major part of exploiting propagandized material. The credibility of FOX and some of the bad companies have a tendency to villainize. Of course nationalism works in war and there's too much side taking and this only leads away from critical thinking. Villainization of subjects under scrutiny can easily be brought forth and the sad part of it is we fall into line and most of the time Americans fall prey to propagandized material. We ought, at this time and history be well ahead of this type of thinking. It only encourages the media to become spokespeople for governmental or special interest agendas to sway the public.

As we drift away from a truly democratized system, today's mixture under Constitutional law allows printing of such material regardless of whether it is true or not. This is the conundrum we Americans face. We can choose to follow the alleged facts that are presented to us, or not jump too conclusions. We must hear all sides of the issues concerning the War in Libya, including Gaddhafi's. If we are truly a nation of fairness, these things could be settled by an unbiased system based upon human rights. So far, it seems all of what is happening is becoming darker. These things have not changed throughout the history of time and justice is never heard!

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