Even though our survivors are situated in Ohio, it is our duty to demand justice when gender inequality happens anywhere in the world.
As the people of Sudan stood together to topple Sudan’s dictator, the government realized that the power behind the movement was women, speaking up for equality. Former Sudanese Intelligence Officers refused to be filmed but agreed to be quoted when CNN asked, “Are women intentionally being targeted?” Their answer “We were commanded by our superiors to break the girls. Because if you break the girls, you break the men.” Rape is being used systemically to silence women in Sudan and is having a ripple-effect of abuse — husbands are divorcing their wives out of shame and fathers are beating their daughters in an attempt to keep them from protesting.
This news has hit social media hard this week because the Sudanese government has restricted communications by disabling the internet and phone services, in an attempt to further silence Sudanese people. The world is paying attention via social media, reposting awareness campaigns and statements about Sudan stating “They are shooting people’s houses, raping women, burning bodies, throwing them in the Nile like vermin, tormenting people, urinating on them, making them drink sewage water, terrorizing the streets and stopping Muslims from going to Eid prayer.” Pictures have emerged of women’s underwear being hung in the streets after women have been raped. UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore said that the team was “gravely concerned” about the impact of the unrest on the country’s young people. UNICEF reports that they have received information that children are being detained, recruited and sexually abused. Schools, hospitals and health centers have been looted and destroyed and there is a severe shortage of water, food, and medicine. Doctors in Sudan report that more than 70 peaceful protesters, both men and women were raped last week and they are certain that the extent of the sexual violence has remained unknown. The United Nations has reported that many people aren’t seeking services out of fear because health care is limited, and it isn’t safe to go outside.
George Clooney, Co-Founder of The Sentry, who has been working in South Sudan for many years wrote an article on how Congress can help stop the violence in Sudan. He states “If this sounds like another hopeless African crisis, it isn’t. Sudan is a country that has unified Republicans and Democrats in Congress and successive administrations in Washington in defense of human rights and peace… In 2016, the U.S. Congress passed an effective new tool to combat human rights abuses: The Global Magnitsky Act, which allows the U.S. government to sanction human rights offender worldwide.” You can read the full article here: https://politi.co/2KELGfi
At the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence, we hold a deep understanding that oppression is the root cause of violence. We cannot end sexual violence without ending all forms of violence, and we cannot separate one from the other. If we stay silent on issues involving sexual violence, we are taking the side of the oppressor. We sit in the United States with privilege, and it is our duty as social change agents to speak up and do what we can to help. Learn about what is happening and spread awareness so that these survivors can find justice.
Here are some ways that we can help the people of Sudan right now:
1. Call your member of Congress. Call 202–224–3121. State your zip code. When connected, tell them you support helping the people of Sudan or send them George Clooney’s essay.
2. Use ResistBot to text your members of Congress. Text RESIST to 50409, and it will help you connect to your elected officials and tell them to help the people of Sudan.
3. Give to UNICEF, which is working to help the children displaced by the conflict: https://uni.cf/2nB0JbO
4. Sign the Change.Org petition urging the UN to investigate the June 3rd human rights violations in Sudan by the military: https://bit.ly/2R43dig
5. Donate to the GoFundMe, started by Uprisings Charity Event, started back in December to bring emergency medical aid to Sudan: https://bit.ly/2WxVMB4
Olivia Montgomery, Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator for Inclusion & Equity, and the rest of the Staff at the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence