Somali Institute for Development Research and Analysis (SIDRA) Institute in partnership with ADRA released a policy brief on rape as a rising crisis and a reality for  the Somali girls and women. The brief analysed the contributing factors to the rape crisis in Somalia.

KEY MESSAGES

  1. Sexual violence against women and girls in Somalia, an abominable crime less prevalent in Somalia pre-civil war history and completely against Islam, is emerging as a common occurrence in Somalia and Somali society has lived with its horrors for decades. Recent figures show 76% of all recorded cases happen among the IDPs whereas 14% occur in the hosting communities.
  2. Somali women and girls are reluctant to come forward, report rape due to the cultural taboo and stigma attached to it, and the shame and the loss of family honor associated with it. From the data gathered, only 2 out of 10 women feel the courage to report spousal or intimate partner violence.
  3. Rape in Somalia spiked during the civil war in 1991 and was used as a weapon of war by some of the opposing militias after the collapse of Somalia’s central government. The civil war has produced militia groups who took their hate-filled revenge on the bodies of women to avenge their enemy while others used rape as an opportunistic activity with impunity.
  4. Violent rape by multiple perpetrators (gang rape) is a new phenomenon to the Somali culture and has been a cause of concern for the traditionally conservative Somali people who for decades grappled with rape behind closed doors due to the perceived shamefulness.
  5. Drug abuse (including the local Qat addiction), alcohol and access and availability of pornographic material has been inextricably believed to have a link with the onset and rise of sexual violence and rape in Somalia.
  6. Authorities allow families and traditional elders to settle rape cases out of court through customary laws (Called Xeer) that don’t accord due justice for the victims. This practice has a devastating effect on the justice outcomes of the victims and contributed to the prevalence of rape and sexual violence in Somalia.
  7. There is no awareness, community outreach and trainings on prevention of rape and other types of sexual offenses. Similarly, women and girls do not have adequate awareness and education on how to report rape and preserve the evidence in the event of rape or other sexual crimes. Due to these profusions of difficulties, there is insufficient evidence in many rape cases to prosecute and convict perpetrators

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