Child Rape in Syria: The war crime no one talks about
"They took off my clothes!”, the 11-year-old girl screamed. She didn’t seem to know what she was saying as she wandered the streets of her village, located in southern Syria near the city of Daraa. For safety reasons, Fatima did not want the name of her village to be used. As if crazy, the child, Nora, yelled snippets of words, sentences with no beginning or end and repeated again and again: "They took off my clothes! They took off my clothes!"
Nora’s mother, Fatima, stumbled across her daughter by chance when she turned down this street. For the past few hours, she had been frantically searching for her child after hearing a rumor that a group of children who had been detained in a military base might have been released. As soon as she heard, the 35-year-old mother took to the streets, hoping beyond hope to find her missing daughter.
When she finally saw her child, Fatima struggled to recognize the features that she had once known by heart. She moved closer. Nora, in a state of shock, didn’t recognize her.
Central African Republic: The DNA of Sangaris
The French military could not have dreamed of better timing. Just three weeks before the official end to Operation Sangaris– set for October 31, 2016– a UN internal memorandum was leaked to the press. This memo cast doubt on accusations of rape levied against international troops in the Central African Republic, suggesting that victims “may have been given financial incentives to testify”.
There was worldwide outcry when the British newspaper, The Guardian, first published a UN internal report in April 2015 revealing that French soldiers had raped or assaulted refugee children near the Mpoko IDP camp in Bangui. The French military operation, which was launched on December 5, 2013, was meant to protect thousands of civilians displaced by the bloody conflict raging in France’s former colony. A power struggle between rival militias had descended into brutal sectarian violence.
Sexual Violence: The US’s “Psychological” Weapon Against Terrorism
A late warm spell warmed Washington in fall 2016. Pumpkins sat squarely on porch stoops and Halloween skeletons dangled from red-tinted trees in the yards of Georgetown, an upscale neighborhood in the US capital city. John Rizzo, the former Deputy Counsel of the CIA, is spending a peaceful retirement there. Each morning, he takes care to match his socks to his polo shirt before going for a stroll down the pretty streets lined with small brick homes.
Fourteen years ago, this snowy-haired dandy was part of a small group of people who, in the secrecy of their meeting point in the CIA’s headquarters, decided to legalize a new method of interrogation. These enhanced techniques were supposed to “break the resistance” of prisoners captured in the War on Terror.
The decision to use these techniques in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and other secret locations would forever change the face of the United States. It would open the door to the use of multiple forms of torture that would cause prisoners physical, psychological… and sexual trauma.