Sexual Violence and Genocide, the Greatest Violation of Human Security: Responses to the Case of Darfur
If we stand in the shoes of an African woman in Darfur, what does human security look like? It does not consist of lofty words spoken in great chambers. Rather, security (and its opposite) are measured in daily calculations which can be literally life and death decisions: Can I leave the displaced persons camp to collect fi rewood and water at the risk of rape by roving soldiers and militiamen? If I don’t, how will I cook for my family? Do I return to my village to pick up provisions or are men waiting there to capture women into sexual slavery? Is it safe to send my daughter to school when schools have been targeted? Do I speak of the sexual violence done to me and risk social and familial ostracism? Do I report the violence to the police and risk being arrested for adultery? Five years into the genocide, Darfuri women know about human security because they know the contours of its absence. Those contours describe not just direct physical threat but also attacks on economic well-being and social cohesion.