Target: Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud
Goal: Institute reforms to confront and reduce sexual violence in Somalia
Sexual violence in Somalia has long become a chilling norm, with little to no justice for survivors of rape and sexual assault. Despite the extremely high numbers of reported incidents—though it is estimated to be much higher than the nearly 800 cases in six months alone—little has been done to institute vast reforms and protections. The government needs to address the high rates of sexual violence and take significant steps toward reform.
The government has promised change but failed to follow through on comprehensively addressing sexual abuse, and faces immense challenges in instituting extensive reform. With little confidence in the justice system—which has previously penalized women who did speak up—survivors of sexual violence often do not come forward or report what has happened to them. Perpetrators of rape and sexual assault do so with a frightening impunity and on a large scale, to the point that rape has become a grimly frequent reality. Many victims face persecution and retribution from security and government forces responsible for rape or assault, or are left physically disabled or incapacitated by violent attacks.
With a frequent history of warfare and turmoil, the Somalian justice system is not well-equipped to deal with the widespread crisis, and victims are faced not only with sexual violence, but also a lack of effective protection or judicial support. Even so, government officials must institute a change, including promoting gender equality and providing competent police forces to take action. We must demand that reforms to protect girls and women from sexual violence be prioritized and instituted, with external aid if necessary. Survivors should be provided with competent judicial support without fear of persecution. Sign this petition to demand the government address the high rates of sexual violence and take urgent steps toward change.
Dear President Mahmoud,
The high rate of sexual violence against women in Somalia is unacceptable. In six months alone, almost 800 women reported rape and sex-based crimes, and it is reasonable to assume the true numbers are vastly underreported. Though the government has promised change, nothing has been done to address the scale of sexual violence. Faced with possible retribution from members of government and security forces responsible for these crimes, as well as an inadequate judicial system, many of these survivors have received no justice.
I demand that the government follow through on its promises and institute reform to protect the women and girls of Somalia from violence. Though it will be a huge challenge because of Somalia’s difficult history, these crimes cannot continue unabated and unaddressed. The government must take whatever action necessary to put an end to the rampant sexual violence against girls and women.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: SGT. G.D. ROBINSON via Wikimedia Commons