This story has appeared in several blogs. In my opinion, it cannot appear too often. I learned of it, not from a news feed, but from Hillary’s Senate feed. Here is her dispatch.
November 7, 2008
Senator Clinton Calls for Stronger Protections for Women and Girls in Conflict Areas After Brutal Stoning Death of Somalian Rape Victim
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today decried the stoning death of a 13-year old rape victim in Somalia and urged the United Nations (UN) to strengthen its efforts to protect girls and women in conflict situations. In a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Senator Clinton called on the international community to do more to prevent such tragedies.
“The recent stoning death of a 13-year old rape victim in Somalia is shocking, unconscionable, and unacceptable. I am deeply disturbed by reports that when this girl turned to local authorities for assistance following her rape, she was denied protection and instead was accused of adultery and publicly executed in a stadium full of bystanders,” Senator Clinton said. “The situation in Somalia is perilous, and girls and women face increased risk of violence and sexual assault. A case like this one is doubly tragic because a young girl was murdered by those whose help she sought. We cannot allow any such incidents to go unchallenged, and I would urge our government to work with the United Nations to help ensure that the protection of girls and women is given high priority in conflict situations.”
According to news reports, the 13-year old Somali girl was brutally raped by three men while traveling to visit her grandmother. When the girl turned to local authorities for assistance, she was denied protection and instead accused of adultery and publicly executed in a stadium full of bystanders.
Senator Clinton has long been a champion for the rights of women and girls around the world. As First Lady in 1995, she attended the United Nations Conference on Women in Beijing and declared that “women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights.” She has worked in the Senate to help secure access to health, education, and economic opportunity for women around the globe.
The text of Senator Clinton’s letter follows.
November 7, 2008
His Excellency Ban Ki-Moon
The United Nations
871 United Nations Plaza
New York, New York 10017
Dear Mr. Secretary General:
I am deeply disturbed by recent news reports of the stoning death of a 13-year-old Somali girl. The circumstances leading up to this death are particularly shocking. After being brutally raped by 3 men while traveling to visit her grandmother, the girl turned to local authorities for assistance. Instead of receiving protection, she was accused of adultery and publicly executed in a stadium full of bystanders. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has already condemned this death, and I would urge you to ensure that all organizations within the UN system strengthen their efforts to protect girls and women in conflict situations.
The situation in Somalia is perilous. The nation is in the midst of a humanitarian crisis, with almost half of the population in need of food assistance. Amnesty International reports that aid and human rights workers are at risk for killings and abduction, limiting their ability to provide aid to the millions in need. Girls and women are at increased risk of sexual assault and violence.
However, we cannot let worsening conditions further jeopardize children, particularly those who seek protection from authorities after they themselves have been attacked. The tragic death of this girl cannot be left unchallenged; those that perpetrated such a crime must know that the world has condemned their actions. I hope that the United Nations will work with countries around the world to protect the rights of girls and women and ensure their safety in conflict situations.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Unspeakable. Hard to take. That poor little girl. As someone who cares for animals and works with organizations to help animals in distress, I have had my heart broken when a young kitten who never had much of a life has died a painful death too soon without ever having had a life or any joy. And then there is this story – a knife to the gut.
I have our Homegirl, Hillary, to thank for telling me about it. This little girl, who knows what she might have become, was terrorized twice over and died a death of terror, so young, so innocent, and so unforgivably betrayed. Why?
You could argue that she was in the wrong place at the wrong time – not her fault, by the way. She was a child. In accidents of fate such as this, adults are charged with protection. After having been abused, she did what we teach our children to do. She turned to adults, and they failed her – more than failed her. They blamed her, and having blamed her, they found her guilty and executed her in a most barbarous way with an enormous audience, and nobody raised a finger to help her.
The injustices here resonate to the point of deafening the audience. This little girl’s unimaginable experience sickens, but it should also startle all who have not yet been awakened in our own culture by the viciousness directed at women candidates in our own election season.
We are the throwaways, girls. We must avenge this little girl by changing the global culture that permits this. This must stop. It is up to us. Men will not stop this. We have to stop it.
After thinking all day about this, I think Hillary at State is a beginning. If she is asked and accepts, we must all get behind her – PLEASE! FOR ONCE AND FOR ALL!! No more senseless murders of girls and women. No more rape without justice. And no further spreading – abatement, rather, of Shariah law.