One week ago today, under the extraordinary leadership of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the UN Security Council took the courageous step of declaring that rape is not just a by-product of war, but a military tactic in and of itself. This is a huge step for womankind. A declaration from the UN Security Council is sure to help the thousands of women worldwide who are systematically raped and sexually tortured every day in the name of war.
OK, I’ll stop being sarcastic. This is such bullshit. It’s taken me a week to blog on this because I had to simmer down or this blog space would have been filled with too many f bombs (my weapon of choice) for the average reader. First, what took the UN so long? It’s not like this is a sudden development. Rape has been a tool of war for hundreds of years. I will grant that deliberate violence against women, given the conflicts in Darfur, the Congo, Rwanda, and Liberia, has reached epic proportions. But it should not be a newsflash for anyone, especially someone sitting on the UN Security Council, that women’s bodies are being used as battlefields.
Second, what good does a resolution do? Especially from an organization whose own Peacekeepers have their own history of sexual abuse against women? The UN is asking for another report in a year. Oh goody! That will help the situation. The good members of the Security Council couldn’t even agree on the strength of the language of the resolution, of course, watering it down for the benefit of (guess who) China and Russia. A resolution with no teeth, backed up by Peacekeepers who may be just as likely to commit sexual abuse, themselves. Perfect.
Finally, while I will admit that the UN giving voice to the issue does have the potential of alerting some folks living under rocks, I have huge problems with the folks at the UN and, say, the Bush White House congratulating themselves on this one. They haven’t actually done anything, and yet they are, in the person of Condi Rice, saying things like,
“I am proud today that … (t)his world body now acknowledges that sexual violence in conflict zones is indeed a security concern.
“We affirm that sexual violence profoundly affects not only the health and safety of women but the economic and social stability of their nations.”
Well, good on ya. It’s about damn time.
If you want to actually do something on this issue, educate yourself and your friends and go to Doctors Without Borders and donate or, if you are able, volunteer. Be sure when you visit their site to read their annual Top Ten Lists and note that they cover the sexual violence issues. They may not advertise it on their front page, but understand that they are addressing it in the field.