OPINION: The Horrors Of Using Rape As A Weapon of War

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Nicolee Ambrose Spokesperson, Faith Coalition to Stop Genocide in Burma
Font Size:

“The military abducted a woman along with some 80 others, taking them to a military camp in the village to rape for five days. Afterward, she said soldiers killed half and let the remaining go free.”

“Twenty soldiers select[ed] five women, gang-raped each one, then killed the women by shooting some, and hanging others from trees.”

This is not a recollection of the Rape of the Sabine Women in Roman mythology, nor the Rape of Nanking almost 100 years ago, and it’s not about the Bosnian War, either. These are just some of the findings of the recently published State Department Report, entitled “Documentation of Atrocities in Northern Rakhine State.”

This genocide occurred over the past two years since the U.S. government lifted sanctions on Burma, also known as Myanmar, in the twilight of the Obama administration. Secretary Mike Pompeo’s State Department released this report after conducting scientific surveys and analyses amongst the 1.1 million Burmese Rohingya refugees sitting in camps across the border in Bangladesh.

Since the mass rape in Bosnia in the 1990s, there has been a tremendous uptick in rape being used as a weapon of war. Nowhere have the numbers of maimed or killed been more staggering than in Burma.

The U.S. report went on to document that 51 percent of surviving women were raped, and that of all refugees, 45 percent witnessed women and girls being raped, including the 20 percent who saw gang rape.

By quantitative analysis, this is the most significant attack on women’s basic rights and dignity the world has witnessed in the 21st century. This staggering assault presents a new and noble challenge for modern feminism — the chance to permanently halt the emotional and physical destruction of women via modern warfare.

But when I turn on the TV and see thousands of women marching in protest, they are ignoring the greatest acts of misogyny occurring on the planet.

Surely, there is no greater affront to women’s rights than the mass rape and genocide occurring today in Burma. Ending the use of rape as a weapon of war is a constructive way for women to march toward progress, equality and the end of misogyny.

The U.S. Atrocities Report continued, citing interviews with Burmese women:

“Three soldiers raped me. One kicked me and I fell unconscious …When I got my senses back, I saw that my fetus had come out dead … I have seen my baby die, and I find myself numb.”

Another mother reported that “during the rape of roughly 100 women, her daughter was raped, then mutilated and killed, while her niece’s body was cut in half after rape.”

“…Multiple soldiers raped women for hours at a time while beating them, sexually assaulting them with their weapons, or inflicting other injuries on them, in addition to the rape.”

In addition to the U.S. Atrocities Report, the United Nations has also issued a report and has recently accused Myanmar military leaders of genocide. Radhika Coomaraswamy of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar said:

“The scale of brutality and systematic nature of rape and violence, indicate that they are part of a deliberate strategy to intimidate, terrorize or punish the civilian population. They are used as a tactic of war. Facts we found include rape, gang rape, sexual slavery, forced nudity, and mutilations.”

Fighting this new low for humankind should be something that unites women of all political stripes. Here in America, our society has never been more polarized. But certain issues are bigger than day-to-day policy debates.

If there is anything American women should demand, it should be for the fire and fury of the world to reign down upon those who would use rape as a weapon of war. There is a country on this planet with a rape culture. That country is Myanmar.

When a nation conspires and commits rape of an entire people, the civilized world must hold the monsters accountable and truly declare, “never again.”

Nicolee Ambrose is a spokesperson for the nonprofit Faith Coalition to Stop Genocide in Burma.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.