Recently, for many women in Maliaso, being born a woman is not only a crime; it can be the greatest misfortune of all as well. Since the invasion of Maliaso by the militant group, Babsha, the plight of an average Maliso woman has metamorphosed from a weak potential mother to a sex object.
Even though, being seen as a sex object can itself be a bitter traumatic experience, being violently treated as one and most likely, killed for not living up to that sex role stereotype and expectations can indeed be a nightmare no woman would aspire for. Ironically, the situation is terrible, especially when such a sexist ideology is being violently promoted and forcefully enforced by no other group than those who portray themselves as morally righteous and religiously pious.
Since the outbreak of war between the government forces and the militant Babsha, many Maliso women, who used to enjoy clan protection have been left either widows or without male relatives because the males in the family have been forcefully recruited to fight for the militant or killed in the war. Either way, the women are the helpless victims of the reckless rape predators who easily prey on their venerable victims violently in the lawless Maliaso. This violence against women and young girls is no other place more pronounced than in the southern part of Maliaso, where militant Babsha controls and administers the reign of terror which includes abusing and gang ““ raping of women and girls who are basically treated as sex slaves for militias. These militants take pride in systematic abuse and traumatizing of the unprotected women. One of the victims, Fatima, 17-year-old girl, who refused to review her surname because of fear of being reprimanded by the militants, recalled her experience after her friend was buried alive for refusing to marry a Babsha commander, a man she neither loved nor wanted.
“You`re next,“ Fatima, who had recently escaped the Babsha controlled area, recalled being warned by the Babsha men after her friend was buried alive.
Keeping to their words, the militants came back some months later looking for Fatima. Five of them burst into her hut, according to Fatima, raped her repeatedly, warning her that any attempt to resist would be considered a crime against Islam, punishable by death, because they were, according to them, “on a holy war.“
“Since after the terrible incident, I`ve had some very bad dreams about these men,“ I don`t know what religion they are.“ Fatima, who is a Muslim herself lamented.
Maliaso, which has been heavily devastated by a long civil war that has resulted in thousands of death and displacement of innocent citizen, with tens of thousands more, dying of famine, is a deeply traditional society, where women are steadily relegated into a second class position. According to the Nations United (NU) statistics, 98 percent of Maliso girls undergo genital mutilation as a child, and most of the girls are illiterate and confined to an obscure home position. The purpose of this sadistic genital mutilation is to control the sexual urge of girls and women and, as some would argue, preserve their “sexual honour” before marriage. Ironically, little or no thought is given to the sexual pleasure of these girls after the marriage. Regardless, the rights of a woman, in this case, are irrelevant and the mutilation, which is usually done to young girls mostly with no sterile and anaesthetics, is irreversible and extremely painful. As if the terror of war and genital mutilation is not enough, Maliso faces yet another widespread terror: excessive and violent rapes and sexual abuse of innocent women and girls who are already psychologically abused enough by the cultural realities they are born into.
Recently, Babsha militants are increasingly facing military offensive not only from the government forces and Union African (UA) Peace keepers, the troops from Opiaethi and Nyake are seriously squeezing the militants as well. The militants` nemesis is compounded by a shortage of cash. But Babsha group has found another strategy to keep its fighters committed to the battle by terrorizing families to force their young daughters into impromptu and most often forceful “marriage“ (euphemism for sexual slavery) to the militants. The aim of this “marriage“ is to boost the weak morale of the militants. Our reporter revealed that a brother of one of the militant group commanders has even started a business called “Young Delicacies“ which supplies “young and tender dinner“ to the militants.
According to our moles, after one of the recent severe military defeats of the militants, the morale of their fighters was so low that their commander quickly announced a “salary increase“ for them.
“A lorry load of your salary is on the way. Be patient, you will be rewarded accordingly for fighting the infidels“ he announced proudly to the thunderous applause of the fighters.
“I thought you meant money. We need money to eat and feed our families“ one fighter protested after he was handed over two young girls “for marriage“ instead of monetary salary.
“You are here fighting for a cause; what do you do with the money? Your body must not be corrupted by the Western nonsense. No one knows how long we may last. If we go tomorrow, our offspring from the “marriage“ will continue where we stopped. Let`s just hope the new offspring are boys ““ not useless girls. Go on, enjoy yourself brother.“ The commander encouraged patting the disgruntled fighter on the shoulder.
But to say that rape and other sexual violence against women and girls in Maliaso is only perpetuated by Babsha militant is to overlook the complicated nature of Maliso society as well as portray the militant as the only negative force in the land. According to Kata Kata`s moles, women and girls are not always unsafe in the hands of rogue militiamen. Even government soldiers, according to our sources, equally rape, rob and kill with reckless impunity.
Worse still, the famine in Maliaso is also exposing many venerable women and girls, who otherwise would have enjoyed the traditional protection mechanism of the clans, to more danger. With many Maliso communities disbanded and armed groups forcing men and boys into their militias, often single women, with children in tow, are forced into the dangerous journey to refugee camps or from one area to another in search of food and shelter. Many of the innocent women and girls are abducted and mercilessly raped by militants, who seem to take a revenge on these innocent helpless women and girls for their recent military setbacks. According to our impeccable moles, many rapists, go to the extent of bribing “Rain Makers“ to “hold“ rain from falling, causing more droughts and of course, forcing women and girls including other young female nomads into deadly odyssey leading to the rapists` web.
“They are just like spiders waiting patiently for the prey“ one of the Non- Governmental Organisation (NGO) workers lamented.
The question is who will save the venerable prey from the dangerous spider?
The above story is a parody. It is entirely fictitious; therefore none of the characters mentioned in the story are real.