The High Price of the Syrian Conflict on Women


It was already happening when Angelina Jolie raised the issue last Spring in Britain. And now those tracking sexual violence in Syria paint an increasingly disturbing picture of Syrian government forces preying on women and girls as young as seven, of minors in refugee camps trafficked as cheap brides. Far away in New York those taking notes vow the perpetrators will be held to account.

The High Price of the Syrian Conflict on Women - Director, Women Under Siege

Syria's descent into despair began more than a year and a half ago and the country seems to fall deeper into the abyss. Neighbourhoods empty as graveyards fill. The UN estimates more than 20,000 people have died since the uprising began and 700,000 refugees are expected to escape the country by year's end. Other numbers are rising as well, ones that don't typically make the headlines. There are accusations that government forces use sexual violence as a weapon.

* We will hear some of those accusations this morning -- and a warning, these stories are disturbing.  (We aired a clip of an unidentified Syrian woman, accusing government forces of raping her.)

A group called Women Under Siege has been working to document cases such as, using a live, crowd-sourced map.

Lauren Wolfe is the Director of Women Under Siege, a project on sexualized violence and conflict at the Women's Media Centre founded by feminist Gloria Steinem.

Lauren Wolfe was in Brooklyn, New York.

The High Price of the Syrian Conflict on Women - Columnist, Abu-Dhabi's The National

Syrians escaping the violence can still end up in some very hostile surroundings. The U.N. estimates only a third of the cash needed to properly run refugee camps has been collected. And even in the camps, there is a high risk of sexual assault -- or worse.

Hassan Hassan is an editorial writer and columnist at the Abu-Dhabi-based paper The National. Mr. Hassan is Syrian and spent four days in refugee camps in Jordan in late September. We reached him in Abu Dhabi this morning.

This segment was produced by The Current's Pacinthe Mattar.

Other segments from today's show:

Justin Trudeau's Choices & Chances in Leadership

Fighting for India's Landless

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