Everyday thousands of children are being sexually abused. You can stop the abuse of at least one child by simply praying. You can possibly stop the abuse of thousands of children by forwarding the link in First Time Visitor? by email, Twitter or Facebook to every Christian you know. Save a child or lots of children!!!! Do Something, please!

3:15 PM prayer in brief:
Pray for God to stop 1 child from being molested today.
Pray for God to stop 1 child molestation happening now.
Pray for God to rescue 1 child from sexual slavery.
Pray for God to save 1 girl from genital circumcision.
Pray for God to stop 1 girl from becoming a child-bride.
If you have the faith pray for 100 children rather than one.
Give Thanks. There is more to this prayer here

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The Islamic State of Sexual Violence No-one is Talking About

The jihadists' rape campaign in Iraq and Syria is not a women's issue. It is a terror tactic and a crime against humanity. So why won't anyone in Washington talk about it?

Foreign Policy.com

Of the many terrifying stories emerging from Islamic State-occupied Iraq and Syria, the violence directed toward women is perhaps the most difficult to contemplate.

The Islamic State's (IS) fighters are committing horrific sexual violence on a seemingly industrial scale: For example, the United Nations last month estimated that IS has forced some 1,500 women, teenage girls, and boys into sexual slavery. Amnesty International released a blistering document noting that IS abducts whole families in northern Iraq for sexual assault and worse. Even in the first few days following the fall of Mosul in June, women's rights activists reported multiple incidents of IS fighters going door to door, kidnapping and raping Mosul's women.
UN Report
Baghdad, 12 August 2014 – “We are gravely concerned by continued reports of acts of violence, including sexual violence against women and teenage girls and boys belonging to Iraqi minorities”, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG), Mr. Nickolay Mladenov and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ms. Zainab Hawa Bangura said today. 
  
“Atrocious accounts on the abduction and detention of Yazidi, Christian, as well as Turkomen and Shabak women, girls and boys, and reports of savage rapes, are reaching us in an alarming manner”, Bangura and Mladenov stated, pointing out that some 1,500 Yazidi and Christian persons may have been forced into sexual slavery.   

“We condemn, in the strongest terms, the explicit targeting of women and children and the barbaric acts the ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ has perpetrated on minorities in areas under its control, and we remind all armed groups that acts of sexual violence are grave human rights violations that can be considered as war crimes and crimes against humanity”, SRSG Bangura said, urging all parties to the conflict to adhere to their responsibilities to protect civilians.. 

IS claims to be a religious organization, dedicated to re-establishing the caliphate and enforcing codes of modesty and behavior from the time of Muhammad and his followers. But this is rape, not religious conservatism. IS may dress up its sexual violence in religious justifications, saying its victims violated Islamic law, or were infidels, but their leaders are not fools. This is just another form of warfare.
4 Days in June
From June 9-12, women’s rights activists documented 13 cases of women who were kidnapped and raped by militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or DAIISH, the Arabic shorthand for the group’s name. Of the 13 women, four of them committed suicide because they couldn’t stand the shame. One woman’s brother committed suicide because he could not bear the fact that he was unable to protect his sister. - Global Fund for Women

Why isn't this crime against humanity getting more consistent attention in the West? It seems this society-destroying mass sexual violence is merely part of the laundry list for decrying IS behavior.

Compare this to IS's recent spate of execution videos, and the industrial scale of the group's sexual assaults seems to fade into the background. Rarely do they seem to be the focal point of politicians' remarks, intelligence assessments, or justification for counterterrorism actions against the group. 

In his Sept. 10 speech laying out his plan for fighting IS, President Obama devoted just eight words to the issue: "They enslave, rape, and force women into marriage."

We both worked as CIA analysts focused on Iraq's insurgency and counterterrorism during much of the war. We lived and breathed the Iraq conflict for years, yet we don't recall reading internal or external intelligence products that exclusively focused upon the sexual violence that occurred in Iraq during that time, despite evidence that it was rampant as an instrument of war during the vicious sectarian reprisals of the mid-2000s.

Nor do we remember attempts to track this type of violence in the same way other types of attacks were tracked. We even asked some of our former and current CIA colleagues and they couldn't recall seeing anything specific either. While these memories are admittedly anecdotal, it suggests that there did not seem to be a particular focus on this topic. And that seems to be equally true right now.

What might account for this lack of attention to this type of violence relative to other types of violence?

First, many of these incidents go unreported, making it difficult for Iraqis, the U.S. government, or international organizations to actually track the violence. (This is not unique to sexual violence during conflict. Some 60 percent of sexual assaults go unreported in America, too.) Beyond the crime itself, there are vast social pressures and taboos placed on rape survivors, even more so in deeply conservative Middle Eastern societies. Sadly, this has resulted in multiple incidents in Iraq of the Islamic State's victims committing suicide.

There might also simply be a bias against covering rape and sexual assault, since they tend to be viewed by some as "women's issues" versus "mainstream" insurgent tactics. Issues pertaining to rape and sexual violence tend to be written about in reports focused on violence against women and children or focused on humanitarian implications of the conflict, rather than being tracked as yet another terrorist tactic.
The beheadings and crucifixions by IS are quite visible atrocities
Sexual violence against women, girls and boys are not videoed
and therefore do not garner anywhere near as much attention
in our hopelessly myopic media
Those covering war may be more inclined to cover airstrikes, beheadings, and market bombings because they are historically viewed as "hard" security issues, while threats to women and children tend to be viewed as "softer" humanitarian concerns. Case in point: The State Department's latest statement on this topic was written not by Secretary of State John Kerry, but by Catherine M. Russell, the ambassador-at-large for global women's issues.

Policymakers may ask fewer questions and request less information because sexual violence isn't typically considered a useful metric to determine how well the military or intelligence agencies are fighting an insurgency. However, in a world where "hearts and minds" matter, tactics that include sexual violence as a weapon of war should be considered part of these assessments -- and part of how the United States wages counterinsurgency. Sexual violence is an important metric for tracking and assessing intimidation and coercion. It also shows how well (or how poorly) a government maintains law and order.

Many policymakers and intelligence analysts have studied political science and war studies at top universities. That might also be part of the problem. Sexual violence is too often academically walled off in gender studies or feminism classes; it should be openly discussed alongside other aspects of war and conflict. Perhaps we were bad students, but neither of us recalls an emphasis on wartime sexual violence during our undergraduate or graduate-level political science and international relations classes. Sexual violence by terrorist organizations shouldn't be seen as a "women's issue" just because most victims are women. Rather, it should be studied in courses that focus on warfare, insurgency, and terrorism.

The Islamic State's campaign of sexual violence will have long-lasting, devastating impacts on the survivors and on Iraqi and Syrian society as a whole. Women must be politically and economically vested to ensure the stability of the country, and as long as many are being victimized in the most intimate way imaginable on a large scale, the future of Iraq seems dim.

At the very least, the United States and other countries should be publicly highlighting the brutal campaign of sexual violence in order to further discredit this organization among Iraqis and its foreign supporters. IS claims to be a group of holy warriors, crafting a new world order. But the rampant sexual criminality exposes its hypocrisy and extreme brutality. Fighting IS's jihadist narrative is critical to destroying its long-term viability. Its fighters' behavior toward women should be underscored at every opportunity. It gives the lie to the group's claim that they are pure of heart.

Policymakers must internalize that sexual violence is a brutal weapon of war, just as corrosive to creating a stable society as murder and ethnic cleansing. Decision-makers can begin this process in three ways: First, the United States should improve tracking and monitoring of these incidents in the same way it does with other types of violence occurring in Iraq and Syria. Second, sexual violence carried out by terrorist groups should be catalogued as "terrorist attacks" by these groups since it seems this is frequently overlooked in intelligence databases.

Finally, policymakers can sharpen their rhetoric, focusing speeches more on IS's brutality. Ultimately, the war of ideas is where IS must be defeated. We must highlight and call out this war crime at every turn, because the only group that benefits from ignoring this issue is the Islamic State.