Talk About It: Why Sexual Violence In Warfare Gets Forgotten
To them, it is not wrong. To them, it is mere intimidation.
It is accepted, it is encouraged and it is a way of destroying who they (unconvincingly) view as the enemy.
It is a practice indoctrinated into their theology, supposedly condoned by their holy book.
For them, it is a means of establishing religious dominance and is part of the pathway to success.
To her, it is the end: the end of childhood and happiness. For her, it is the end of the ability to look at her parents without the constant burn of shame.
For her, it is the end of a life.
To us, it should be one hell of a wake up call.
Sexual violence is not news to this world. Ever since there has been slavery and war, there has been the rape and abuse of those in captivity, and it only continues day by day.
Do you think American slavery has ended? Maybe it has in the form most familiar to you, but the global implications of the sexual slave trade do not back off at our star spangled borders.
What is news to this world, however, is the utilizing of sexual violence as a weapon on a massive scale.
ISIS maintains sexual violence is a practice encouraged by their theology. It is an act that purges the enemies as it shatters them.
And boy does it shatter them.
How can you be saved from something that lives in your memory long after the reality has faded? How can you find the strength to go on when you are not sure the reality will even fade?
Sexual violence infiltrates the minds of both the victims and bystanders in the most perversely effective way. It breeds fear, hatred, hopelessness and loathing in a way words cannot even comprehend.
It tears apart the individual and it rips through the community, shattering what was once so whole until there is nothing left but broken dreams, scattered bodies and blood fading on worn floors.
Should we really need a Hollywood superstar to open our eyes to this wrong? No. But thankfully, one has.
When Angelina Jolie blatantly stated the most aggressive terrorist group in the world today is using rape as a center point of their terror, she gave horror a headline.
It is too easy to skim over the details while you read your paper and drink your coffee. It is too easy to click through suggested posts until what you turn to for news becomes an unending stream of puppies and pop culture.
But things have changed. Now that you know, now that you’ve read those words and imagined those scenarios, you cannot forget.
You can try. But somewhere deep inside, you will remember there is a girl, probably your age, on the other side of the world. She's a girl who is terrified and hurting, a girl who can’t just click the television remote to change the channel to something a little less grim.
For their sons and daughters, and for our sons and daughters, we need to respond.
We cannot let the innocence of an entire generation be stolen.
We cannot stand by and scroll through makeup tips and Instagram posts in a self-imposed sort of ignorance, as parents are weeping over the bodies of their lost children.
We cannot sit back and watch that new episode of "Scandal" as warehouses full of girls are learning what it means to wish to die.
We cannot go about our days casually, as people are persecuted in the most intimate and savage way for the mere "crime" of believing in something else.
We cannot let our own future children be born into a world where sexual violence is just as prominent as justice once was. We cannot live in a world where we are afraid to open our doors, open our eyes and open our hearts to people who are just like us.
We cannot let this happen, not for their sons and daughters, not for ours.
Hollywood isn’t the only place with a voice. Tweet about it, post about it and most importantly, talk about it.
Ignoring terror and ignoring pain is not the solution; it is part of the problem.
Write to your representatives about it and to your governments about it. Write to Angelina about it, and congratulate her on her badass bravery.
Just do something about it.
For their sons and daughters, and for ours.