Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s troops took control of the eastern parts of Aleppo this week; causing concern to many women in the city of being raped; with many already having decided to choose death over it.
Abdullah Usman, who is a member of one of the rebel groups fighting in Aleppo, stated that there are many people that are trapped beneath the heavy concrete and that many of them have been burnt to death by the barrel bombs. He also added that many of the residents have fled to camps, while many women have killed themselves – an option they saw as having more freedom, rather than being raped by the army members now in the city. As many as twenty women choose suicide over being raped.
Abdullah Lateef Khalid, who is the founder of One Solid Ummah, an organisation set to provide aid and assistance to the Syrian people, updated their Facebook page with an extremely sad suicide note.
The note describes the fear taking over her mind as she says that she is going to be raped at any moment. “I am one of the women in Aleppo who will soon be raped. There are no more firearms or men that can stand between us and the animals who are about to come and are called the nation’s army,” said the girl who committed suicide.
(Please click here to go the Facebook page that has the translation of the letter.)
According to a study conducted by Amnesty, organised rape has become a tool used in war. Sadly, the means of rape comes with the conquest of land that also leads to the conquest of women’s bodies.
“Conciliatory Rape, as well as loot from the preceding ages, has been changed in present conflict by rape worn as an orchestrated fighting means,” an investigative report published by Amnesty International and the BBC, stated.
Gita Sahgal, a journalist and a former head of Amnesty’s gender department, stated that the women who have died or who are suffered during the war have not been highlighted by the media, and in many cases, these issues have existed for a long time. There are hundreds of women that are being killed in Syria, many of them prisoners of war.
Rowaida Yousef, who was once living the nightmare herself, tells the story of how she was raped in the prison and how she escaped. She says that she wants to help women who have suffered like her, help them recover, and be their voice in the dark.
The girl who wrote the heartfelt letter before she committed suicide said that she did this to avoid becoming an opportunity for Assad’s troops. She even wrote that her act of choosing death over life is something symbolic in the times of the Syrian conflict.
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