This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Rape's European Ascent

"[The goal is that participants will] at least know the difference between right and wrong."
Nina Machibya, manager, Sandnes Center, Sandnes, Norway

"To force someone into sex is not permitted in Norway, even when you are married to that person."
"[It is ] not religion that sets the laws [whatever a person's faith] the rules and laws nevertheless have to be followed."
Sandnes course manual

"[Many refugees] come from cultures that are not gender equal and where women are the property of men. We have to help them adapt to their new culture."
"The biggest danger for everyone is silence."
Per Isdal, clinical psychologist, Stavanger, Norway

"It is normal here for boys and girls to be friends. Smiling and flirting are normal. It doesn't mean anything."
"If a girl is drunk, it does not mean she is willing to do anything."
Berit Harr, course monitor, refugee center, Ha, coastal village, Norway
Refugees from Sudan took part in a class dealing with violence against women, at a refugee center in Lunde, Norway. Credit Andrew Testa for The New York Times
The incidence of rape has increased markedly in European countries where immigrants from Muslim countries have entered to forge new lives for themselves. The European values of gender equality clearly are not universally shared. And although European authorities prefer to tiptoe around the obvious, Muslim countries and their populations do not look upon equality between the genders as normal; women tend to be viewed as chattel, and treated as such.

The unspeakable mass rapes in Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Sudanese janjaweed unleashed on the women of Darfur, he rape of young girls in the belief that having sex with a virgin child will cure AIDs; the current president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma raping an HIV-positive young woman who considered him an 'uncle', all paint Africa and particularly Muslim Africa as a cesspool of violence against women and children. 

Most Muslim-majority countries and increasingly more of them, now promote 'modesty' for Muslim girls and women, if those countries hadn't previously done so. All-enveloping chadors or burqas have become increasingly common. As well, women are encouraged not to appear in public unless they are escorted by a male family member. Muslim men have earned the reputation of viewing women who fail to heed these increasingly standard cultural dress codes as prostitutes and treat them accordingly.

In Africa rape is more common than elsewhere in the world, perhaps apart from India. Women are vulnerable to rape by men seldom suffering consequences from an act that is pervasive within society. Rape, in warring African countries is used as a weapon of war, with women helpless to defend themselves from mass rape.

Because of the rise of the incidence of rape perpetrated by migrants, Norway has initiated a voluntary program to teach migrants and refugees that sexual violence is not acceptable. Sweden's soaring incidence of rape is seldom spoken of as a symptom of taking in massive numbers of migrants; it would be too politically awkward to do so.
UN peacekeeping soldiers from Rwanda patrolling in Bangui, Central African Republic.
UN peacekeeping soldiers from Rwanda patrolling in Bangui, Central African Republic. Photograph: Pacome Pabandjil/AFP/Getty Images UN peacekeepers shot dead a 16-year old boy and his father and raped a 12-year-old girl in Central African Republic, Amnesty International has alleged
Stavanger, Norway's oil industry center, a magnet for migrants seeking employment, saw a leap in rapes from 2009 to 2011, leading the country's immigration department to mandate such a sex educational program, although it remains purely voluntary. Everywhere that African migrants tend to congregate, Norway, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Israel, an increase in sexual violence follows.

Claims have erupted accusing German Chancellor Angela Merkel of welcoming an "epidemic of rape" through her wholesale embrace of migrants. Thomas de Maiziere, the German interior minister insists that asylum seekers are no more likely to commit such crimes as are Germans themselves. This, despite the German public horrified at the rise in rapes and attempting to cope with the new need to defend themselves.

One asylum seeker experienced some difficulty accepting that a wife could accuse a husband of sexual assault. In Eritrea, where many of the African migrants now flooding Europe emanate from, "if someone wants a lady, he can just take her and he will not be punished", by police, let alone any level of authority, stated Abdu Osman Kelifa, a Muslim asylum seeker from the Horn of Africa.

He had been shocked to see women in brief clothing drinking alcohol and expressing emotional ties by kissing in public. Only prostitutes do that kind of thing back home, he said. Kissing is never seen in public back home.  His confusion led him to voluntarily agree to attend one of the sexual more education courses.

He has learned, through voluntarily attending the sex-education-in-Europe course that Norway treats women differently than his home country. "They can do any job from prime minister to truck driver and have the right to relax" without being bothered, he said he now understands. According to Mr. Isdal, refugees represent a "risk group" not predestined to violent crime, but requiring aid coping with a new and alien environment.

A class focusing on differing perceptions of what constitutes "honour" has been presented in Lunde, a village southwest of Oslo. The discussion there is how violence that those coming from societies viewing honour being restored through the use of violence [as in 'honour killings'], represents a value which in Norway is illegal and shameful.

South Africans call on President Jacob Zuma to take action to prevent sexual violence.
South Africans call on President Jacob Zuma to take action to prevent sexual violence. Photograph: AP Images for Avaaz

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