Combating Violence Against Girls

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
September 26, 2009
Girl Carries Her Niece in Eastern Congo

Secretary Clinton speaks out against sexual and gender-based violence.

Yesterday, Secretary Clinton gave opening remarks at the Combating Violence Against Girls Event hosted by the Government of the Netherlands during the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Next week, Secretary Clinton will chair a Security Council session on the epidemic of sexual violence against women and girls in conflict zones, and the United States will introduce a resolution to strengthen efforts to curb these atrocities and hold all those who commit them accountable. Secretary Clinton said:

"I want to start by saying something that I believe with all my heart, and, obviously, those of you who are here believe it also, that the issues related to girls and women are not an annex to the important business of the world and the United Nations, they’re not an add-on, they’re not an afterthought; they are truly at the core of what we are attempting to do under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that is the guiding message of this organization and what each of us in our own countries is called to do on behalf of equal opportunity and social justice.

So for me, this is a tremendous opportunity to speak about an issue that has basically been relegated to the backwaters of the international agenda until relatively recently: violence against girls and women, and particularly today, violence against girls.

I wish that we could transport ourselves into a setting where we could be in the midst of girls and women who have been suffering from violence, but we don’t have to because it’s all around us. It is in the home, it is in the workplace, it is on the streets of many of the countries represented here.... And it is in the places that make the headlines from time to time, and then in the very bottom paragraphs, there’s a reference to the violence that is a tactic of war and intimidation and oppression to prevent girls from going to school by throwing acid in their faces, by raping girls as a way of intimidating them and keeping them subjugated and demonstrating power.

So this, for me, is one of the most important events that I’ve done at the UN."

Read the Secretary's full remarks here.

You may also read the Secretary's op-ed on her visit to Goma, where some 1,100 rapes are reported each month, and how the United States is responding to sexual and gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Comments

Comments

Rosemary
|
New Jersey, USA
September 26, 2009

Rosemary in New Jersey writes:

This is a very powerful speech. I hope the video will be available soon. This speech is a must read/must hear and see.

Secretary Clinton: Superb!

Suleman
|
South Africa
September 27, 2009

Suleman in South Africa writes:

The leadership of Rwanda, Uganda have to be indicted, for complicity in the war crimes in DRC.The Ugandans supplied the guns which were used to invade Rwanda,the same guns were used in invading DRC.The rebellion in E.DRC was begun by rebels backed by Uganda and these are the ones which started and have continued with the abuse of the DRC Citizens!Until when some action is taken against Uganda and Rwanda,the pple of DRC will not enjoy any peace!

Karen
|
Arkansas, USA
September 28, 2009

Karen in Arkansas writes:

I concur with the above comment that everyone should hear/see this video. Sec. Clinton, thanks for all your tireless efforts. You are doing a wonderful job!!

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 29, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

"I wish that we could transport ourselves into a setting where we could be in the midst of girls and women who have been suffering from violence, but we don't have to because it's all around us. It is in the home, it is in the workplace, it is on the streets of many of the countries represented here.... And it is in the places that make the headlines from time to time, and then in the very bottom paragraphs, there's a reference to the violence that is a tactic of war and intimidation and oppression to prevent girls from going to school by throwing acid in their faces, by raping girls as a way of intimidating them and keeping them subjugated and demonstrating power."
-Sec. Clinton

---

Dear Sec. Clinton,

And then there are news stories about the victim getting the upper hand. Here is a case in point of how NOT to woo a "bride to be."...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8279929.stm

(excerpt from article)

Three militants stormed into Rukhsana Kauser's home in a remote village in Jammu region on Monday and started beating her parents in front of her.

Ms Kauser, 18, and her brother turned on the gunmen, killing one and injuring two more. Police praised their courage.

One of the militants wanted to marry Ms Kauser against her will, police said.

"I thought I should try the bold act of encountering militants before dying."

Ms Kauser said she grabbed one of the militants by the hair and banged his head against the wall. When he fell down she hit him with an axe, before snatching his rifle.

"I fired endlessly. The militant commander got 12 shots on his body."
Her brother, Eijaz, 19, grabbed one of the other militants' guns and also began shooting.

Ms Kauser said the exchanges of gunfire with the militants had gone on for four hours.

"I had never touched a rifle before this, let alone fired one. But I had seen heroes firing in films on TV and I tried the same way. Somehow I gathered courage - I fired and fought till dead tired."

Police identified the militant commander as Abu Osama, who they say was a member of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba group and had been active in the Rajouri area for the past five years.

Local residents told police that he wanted to marry Ms Kauser - and was prepared to do so forcibly.

---end excerpt--

Given the distinct probability of reprisal upon this family, the police have offered protection, but the family is convinced that only relocation will provide a measure of safety.

If there were ever a poster child for a woman's right to self determination and resistance to oppression, I think we've found an ideal candidate.

So may I respectfully suggest you show her some personal recognition of her bravery under fire, and perhaps offer her a job as an advocate for woman's rights?

That is, unless the leadership of India beats you to it...(chuckle).

Let me just say that one may anticipte miracles in places like Afghanistan when the people realize the radical extremists they face are not supermen to be feared, having the means and the will to take their nation back from the common enemy of all civilized men and women everywhere.

This young lady and her brother have helped show the way for millions.

As well, what they've been through is traumatic and life changing for any teanager, and I hope they are offered some counseling to process the event as it will no doubt have created a bit of post traumatic stress in their young lives. Another reason they should not have to live in fear of reprisal, and thus relocation is in order.

Thanks for all your hard work on the many issues of humanity's concern.

EJ

nuoc h.
|
Vietnam
September 30, 2009

Nouc H. in Vietnam writes:

thank you for sharing

Jennifer
|
Michigan, USA
September 30, 2009

Jennifer in Michigan writes:

Thank you, Secretary Clinton, for putting this issue front and center where it belongs and for providing a strong, powerful voice on behalf of those who either cannot speak for themselves or who are not being heard.

Heather Z.
|
Indiana, USA
October 1, 2009

Heather Z. in Indiana writes:

It is refreshing to see women's rights issues being brought to the forefront of attention to the international community and the United Nations General Assembly by Secretary Clinton. The state of international women's equality is comparable to a statue located in the United States Capitol Rotunda. The statue is of several women and is unfinished, representing that woman's equality to man is also unfinished and is an ongoing process; this is the state of international women's rights. They are unfinished, abused, and have been a continuing problem in the international community. Abuses are still being committed as a means to support male dominance and superiority over women.

The controversy surrounding the arrest and possible extradition of Roman Polanski for having sex with a minor has brought women's issues to the media spotlight. With his case currently being heavily debated in the international community, now is a great time to place pressure on the General Assembly to push harder for international female protection and equality.

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