Rape as a Weapon of War

On this blog I generally write about the “good” aspects of sex and how to have good sex. However, there is a flip side to sex:

There are some women whose sexual rights and bodily integrity are violated through a myriad of factors including sexual abuse and rape. It is hard to categorise the severity of different types of abuse but in my view one of the most insidious types of violence is the use of rape as a weapon of war. In times of war, the warfront becomes women’s bodies with the rape and sexual abuse of women becoming part and parcel of wartime stratagems (some will argue that this is the case in times of peace too)

Below is a solidarity statement by a diverse group of young African women



Following the 28th September violence in Conakry, we, the first generation of Fellows of the Moremi Initiative for Leadership Empowerment and Development (MILEAD), joining hands with several organizations and millions of people around the world, raise our voices to condemn the deterioration of the political situation to the detriment of the people of Guinea.

We raise our voices first and foremost to express solidarity with our fellow MILEAD sister Aminata Fall, with the families of the victims and with the People of Guinea.

We condemn fervently the deaths of several innocent Guineans and the physical and sexual violence committed against the women of Guinea. These atrocities should not, indeed will not go unnoticed. These events must be brought to the forefront because once the people of a country face the butts of the army’s guns we must respond and act with the urgency that such a situation demands.

The military regimes that have held power in Guinea since 1984 have continually perpetrated acts of violence against the Guinean population and have violated human rights and the rule of law. Indeed the massacre of 28th September was an inevitable deterioration of an already deplorable situation following the forcible military takeover led by Moussa Dadis Camara on 23rd December 2008. Less than a year later Camara rescinded his promise of a smooth transition from military rule to a democratically government chosen through free and transparent elections.

We the young women of MILEAD, our partner organizations and other concerned individuals raise our voices in solidarity with the people of Guinea whose right to free political expression was mercilessly trampled upon by unscrupulous forces of the same Dadis Camara who now confesses to have lost control of the army that helped bring him to power. We not only condemn this obvious weakness of political structures and lack of institutions, we also demand that action be taken and encourage our partners to join us in working with the people of Guinea to restore hope, healing and political change.

We raise our voices particularly against the violent physical and sexual abuse of women and girls on this terrible day in Guinea’s history. We decry the use of rape as a tool of conflict, of intimidation or of punishment and we above all decry the use of the female body as an arena for violently hashing out political differences. Brutal gang rape will not go unpunished and we will seek redress at the appropriate national, regional and international institutions.

As young women desirous of making a tangible contribution to the advancement of democracy and the rule of law in our respective countries, we use this statement of solidarity as a platform and a symbol of our socio-political engagement. We pledge to take a stand on issues, to vocalize our concerns and above all to take action whenever necessary since passive leadership is in fact no leadership at all.

We demand that the Presidents of our respective African countries (Ouganda, Ghana, Liberia, South Africa, Nigeria, Cameroun, Somalie, Kenya, The Gambia, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Zambia, Lesotho and Tanzania) make a formal condemnation of the Guinea situation and to express support for free and transparent elections founded upon the right to freedom of speech.

We also call on the Guinean authorities to work towards a speedy return to peace and a respect for the rights of the people. We are aware that Guinea today is working towards finding her place on the African continent and on the international scene however this cannot be achieved by alienating the people and civil society.

Our thoughts, our hearts, our sympathies go to the people of Guinea, to the victims, to those hurting and to their families.

Ghana, 5th October 2009

12 comments On Rape as a Weapon of War

  • Seriously, God bless you for running this story! It needs to be heard, and it’s so sad that stuff like this happens time and time again. My bf told me about this situation, about how worried he was about his mom who lives in Guinea, and used to work for the government. She has such pride in her country, as anyone should, but needless to say, something has got to be done.

  • Thanks so much Nana for the great work and congratulations on your initiative. Is it too much if I say I feel good here???

    On the use of sex as a weapon, what happened to hundreds of women on the 28th September in Guinea is just barbaric and the authors have to be punished!

    question to Nana: are u planning to have a french-speaking session because your blog is internationally known!

    Keep it up.

  • I happy an organization like this exists, sad that it has to though. I don’t know that the perpetrators will be punished or that they realize what they did was very very wrong, thanks for highlighting this issue.

  • @Retromus-ik – Loving your name! And thank you for the blessings. Yes, I agree something needs to be done. We need some responsible African leaders to stand up to atrocities that take place on this continent

    @Rama – No, it is not too much to say you feel good here 🙂 Hmmm, a French speaking session sounds tres bon!

    @Omosi – The group that wrote this statement are the “MILEAD Fellows”, a group of young African women leaders looking to do do their bit in order to create a better society for us all

  • I think Sex and Rape are two very different things. Sex is consensual and can be good while Rape is just pure evil. I hope the presidents do something to help…

  • @Lady X – You’re absolutely right, it occured to me earlier that I needed to edit the title and you have just reminded me

  • Rape is evil no matter who, where and why it is committed. It is unfortunate that the condemnation of rape is often left to women because actually, rape affects men just as much.

  • I just came across this quote from BNP (British National Party) political candidate Nick Eriksen…

    “Rape is simply sex. Women enjoy sex, so rape cannot be such a terrible physical ordeal… [it] is like suggesting force-feeding a woman chocolate cake is a heinous offense.”

    When people hold these views it’s a wonder that the world has ever progressed. I applaud MILEAD Fellows, women everywhere need to stand up and fight!

  • @NKA – MMm, interesting comment…pray tell more

    @Nsoromma – I don’t even know what to say about his comment…seriously, I don’t even want to type his name. THAT party and all within it are just abominable. It is so sad that they continue to be part of the British politic

  • Hi all,
    here is a link to the MILEAD blog: http://mivoiceblog.blogspot.com/

    Please sign our petition here to support our cause with regards to the Guinea issue: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/guinea-28th-september-2009-massacre

    Nana, sorry for the shameless plug on your illustrious blog 🙂 Thanks again for your support and i agree with your sentiments on the BNP!

  • Sad. I join my sisters to express my solidarity.

  • my! its really sad . this has been happening in Africa for so long and it is time to put a stop to this barbaric act. how do we fight for justice?

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