by Patricia T. Morris, Ph.D.
- USA -
“After the abuse I suffered during the genocide in 1994, I was 16 years old, hopeless and traumatized,” says Marie Chantal Nimugire of Kigali, Rwanda. “I asked God, ‘Why was I left?’ And because God rescued my life, I had a choice: to become a survivor, not a killer or a victim. My choice was not to wait for a man to rescue me, but to accept responsibility for myself and other women.”
According to the United Nations at least one in three women and girls around the world is beaten or sexually abused in her lifetime and some four million women and girls are trafficked annually into forced marriage, prostitution, or slavery. At least 60 million girls who would otherwise be alive are missing, mostly in Asia, as a result of sex-selective abortions, infanticide, or neglect. According to the World Health Organization, between 10-52% of women report having been assaulted by an intimate partner. The UNFPA estimates that 130 million girls and women around the world have undergone female genital cutting (FGC) and at least 2 million girls every year - nearly 6,000 per day - are at risk of undergoing FGC. Despite increased public awareness and two recent UN Security Council Resolutions (1820 and 1888), rape is increasingly used as a weapon of war in armed conflicts. The UN reports that during the Rwanda genocide between 200,000 and 500,000 women were raped, and in Bosnia during the conflict there between 20,000 and 50,000 women were raped.