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Posted by on Dec 8, 2012 in Crime, Education, Featured, International, Media, Mental Health, Passages, Race, Religion, Society, War | 10 comments

The Quaternity of Raping Women and Children

This child from Sudan is not wearing a necklace. The men who raped her slit her throat over and over.

Dateline: RAPE-WORLD: Today and Every Day In Our World.

–Raped by the government militia,
–raped by criminal civilians who copy the government militia,
–raped psychologically by their family ethos afterward,
–raped emotionally by those in news media who would rather cover the petty whinings of the many who are not under siege–
–and raped by the exoneration of thug-leaders who do not immediately rein in the methodology of rape, but rather see it as a low-cost weaponry available to all his soldiers, weaponry that doesnt cost the thug at the top–one red cent.

I grew up in a family of refugees and “ethnically cleansed” (what a misnomer that) tribal people from E. Eu, WWII. The following article rings loudly true in all respects of women and children being used as fodder, offal and meat by those who have lost their minds and heart in war.

The components of vile heart and evil rape of ALL in the sight lines of those intent on doing evil, the purposeful intent being to starve the refugees and those who have fled, the purposeful terrorism to murder babies in their mothers’ wombs, the purposeful murders after rapes of those most precious to the elders… all this was in my poor war-torn, deeply traumatized refugee family too. Often, pregnancies, gross malnutrition, terrible injuries to mouths, teeth, neck, trunk, limbs, face and back, and often enough, disease also, were the results of rape all in one person. Not either or. All.

And then, as now, it took decades for those raped so often and often so precipitiously, to speak it out. And that public speaking out, did not come from the generations who suffered it so deeply and over and over. It came from us, out loud, their progeny to whom in their unguarded and agony moments, all the facts they felt so shamed by, poured out in words so jagged, in tears so acid, in heart so screaming-weeping, it burnt us in the eyes, in the spirit, it branded us. We dont forget. We wont. We cant.

Many of us thereby became our suffering elders’ memorial candles, we growing up, often entreated and often intruded upon ourselves by strangers, passers-through, right here growing up on our own roads and in our own fields. The sheer insanity of our elders not being able to protect their own in war, nor us pretty young children in times of peace, we, their own precious cargo, in this new country… and being unable to stop the dark appetites, not of passion, but of demeanment of innocents that is egregiously exciting to the person perpetrating such.

Thus and still, we know the subject face-to-face through four generations of rape and intrusion… far too well, and yet, many of us, as memorial candles, resolved to keep all the facts of the nature and strategies of such evil above the waterline for the rest of our lives, to record it, to write it, to make sure on paper, in 1s and 0s, it remains above the waterline even where and when it appears the majority of the world would wish all bloody records of such harms would disappear into oblivion… instead of to learn from, to know down to the bones, and to find ways to unleash the redemptive with regard to this un-erasable inhumanity used to scar-brand others for life.

In the following chapter, we can see the archetype of rape, the intention to mark another human being with one’s own vile imprint for life, I think. It is the same, over and over the methods of scar-branding others are the same, whether it was the Arawak first meeting the greed-sotted and gristle-lusting Columbus and buddy-thugs, or whether Bosnia, former Jugoslavia, the Hutu- Tutsis, the gold fields near summering camps, the slave labor camps in any war over the centuries.

It is the same… Rape is the same: the archetype of Rape is followed step by step, in all its inhuman slavering, The Way of Rape is real, clear cut, stylized, predictable in its tactics.

Once rape is experienced and not being able to flee the environs in which mass rape is unleashed, one learns, the steps to dehumanizing are the same everywhere. There is no originality to it, only predictable and ancient forms of brutality.

I’m reminded of a teacher we had in our backwoods schoolroom, a man from the east who long after we were grown, we realized he loathed having been assigned to a school of hick children. Handing out grades to us young ones crammed two and three to a desk, he would always say about our grades, “Read ’em and weep.” I didnt realize his scorn in that. I thought he meant something was very sad about us all, and that we should cry about it inconsolably.

I find, in public reactions, often, similar… scorn for the right NOW suffering of others who are not oneself. Yet, I think the child spirit has the right reaction… there are some things, some ‘grades’ given out for certain people’s failures as human beings who cut rather than care about others actively– that one ought weep over that state of the souls of some, one ought weep inconsolably and then as well go forward with blood in the eye and inestimably love in the heart, and within one’s reach, take action— not just words– to help mediate the inhumane

… to not only free oneself from the disaffected stake through one’s own heart, but to in whatever way within our reach, alone or with others already setting their shoulders against the wheel, also freeing those who have raped, those whose reptilian brains urge them to continue to enter the bodies of innocent others right up to the heartline…

to free as many of those who perpetrate, predate on others, those who have buildt one of the most deadly prisons a human can ever build for oneself: The repetitive intense arousal to be found– nay, to be craved– via evil acts… There’s a saying amongst the old believers in my family, the RAPED old believers in my family… that evil acts can cause a person with a self-murdered soul to feel a false form of being alive… a lie that will never allow them true life until they tell the living truth about what they did, what they have done.

It is prayer I carry about those who do such harm to innocent others: that they themselves will be raped, scarred with the radiant truth, branded with the truth… their only hope for rejoining humanity ever, and more ever.

This article was posted by Michele Lent Hirsch, and first published on February 8, 2012, ©2012, all rights reserved. I hope particularly, you will see the parts about rape as strategy and tactics. Those are ancient strategies, ancient tactics, ironically also, the way to murder one’s own soul by those who bring such premeditated and impulsively enacted harms onto others.

Here is the step by step of the Archetype of Rape; an archetype is a universal idea that rises from the unconscious into consciousness and takes hold and carries either great positive or negative numinousity when beheld by some humans, causing them sometimes with huge inflation of ego, to identify with the dark shadow of the archetype, which carries intention and feeling toned ideas, but is not human. If one becomes possessed by such inhuman and dark archtype, it is said psychologically, the person who once was, is no longer.



In March 2003, after decades of tension, fighting erupted in Sudan’s western Darfur region between Sudanese government forces and rebel groups such as the Sudanese Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement. Over the next few months, tens of thousands of Darfuris fled. Government troops and allied militia forces, called the Janjaweed, attacked villages and internally displaced persons (IDP) camps, systematically raped women, and murdered whole communities. To ensure mass destruction, forces burned homes and poisoned water wells. Some analysts consider the conflict to be an attempt by the Arab-identifying majority to destroy the “African” minority.

Meanwhile, other areas of Sudan have experienced unrest. After much tension between the north and south of the country, the people of southern Sudan voted in January 2011 to secede. In July 2011, South Sudan officially declared its independence as a new nation. Political analysts believe the Sudanese government had hoped that international attention would be diverted by peace talks with former rebels in South Sudan, allowing it to quell the Darfur rebel movements with quick, systematic military action. But although the nascent country may have edged its way into headlines, atrocities continue elsewhere. And compared with other areas of Sudan, Darfur suffers from the most systematic rape, due to the ease with which soldiers can target women in Darfur’s IDP camps.

Sudan’s government has used profits from oil wealth in various parts of the country, including areas in the Nuba Mountains and in South Sudan, to fund its military attacks in Darfur. “Oil revenues account for a majority of Sudanese government income, and therefore are instrumental in financing genocide,” according to a 2006 report from Yale University. While the mass murder and rape in Darfur has been funded largely from oil in other Sudanese regions, Bloomberg reports that oil has recently been tapped in Darfur itself, with additional exploration studies being carried out in other parts of Sudan. In 2009, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes, making al-Bashir the first sitting head of state to have a warrant against him by the court.

How Sexualized Violence is Used as a Weapon of War

To destroy communities and families: Rape is used to terrorize and break down social structures, causing people to flee their homes and surrounding areas and women to be scorned by their families. Following rape, women are also sometimes made to build their own huts outside the “family compound,” according to a report from Médecins Sans Frontières.

To degrade and terrorize women: This is part and parcel of destroying communities, families, and social structures. Rape is meant to leave a permanent mark on women, tearing them from a sense of security, even within their own bodies.

For ethnic cleansing: There have been many reports of ethnic slurs being made during rape as well as stated intentions to impregnate women and force “mixed” babies.

The U.N. defines ethnic cleansing as “a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas.” We are using the term here because ethnic cleansing makes women subject not only to outright murder, but also controls the threat of their bodies as the means of reproduction. For instance, women have been raped in order to occupy “inferior” wombs with “superior” sperm, or forced to have abortions or sterilizations (as have men of “inferior” groups) in order to end future reproduction. In some conflicts, women are also subject to the sex-specific political torture of forcing them to bear the child of their torturer in order to break their will.

To increase food insecurity: At most IDP camps in Darfur, rations do not provide enough to eat. But when women try to plant crops near the camps so as not to rely solely on international aid—or, more commonly, when they search for firewood near the camps—they are raped and thereby prevented from cultivating or even cooking their own sources of food. Some NGOs have tried to improve policing and IDP camp cooking supplies, but sexualized violence continues to destabilize access to food.

Patterns of Violence

Primarily, Sudanese government forces and the Janjaweed paramilitary commit rape, according to United to End Genocide, a Washington-based organization dedicated to ending genocide worldwide, and other groups. Therefore, those who identify as being of Arab descent are perpetrating sexualized violence against those considered non-Arab or “African.”
A high percentage of reported rapes take place while women and girls are on long walks to procure firewood and water to bring back to their refugee camps or villages. It is considered safer for women to go out at night as they are actually more likely to be targeted while searching for wood during daylight hours. (Militias usually shoot men dead if they attempt to leave the camps.) This is such a significant problem that some organizations have tried to create a lesser need for firewood and water through more efficient wood-burning stoves and better water pumps at IDP camps. A March 2005 Médecins Sans Frontières report states that 82 percent of the women who came to them for treatment after being raped reported that the assault took place while they were “pursuing their ordinary daily activities” such as gathering wood or water.
Rather than kill women after raping them, many of the rapists purposely keep women alive following the ordeal, even marking them with wounds, knowing that women will not be accepted by their families or considered “viable” to marry; however, women who do not comply are usually killed.
Some men are forced to commit rape by their superiors. While there are a few soldiers who report that they tried to resist, they can be killed if they do not follow orders.


Experts are extremely reluctant to provide estimates of the number of women and girls raped—even more so than with other regions in conflict. No number other than “thousands” is available at this time. According to United to End Genocide, the main reason this already underreported crime is especially underreported in Sudan is that women have learned the hard way not to speak out: The government-sanctioned perpetrator often strikes again after a woman goes public. However, the organization says that rape was, and continues to be, much more of a problem in Darfur than in other regions of Sudan and now South Sudan. Whereas rape is used sometimes when forces invade a village, its systematic use is largely limited to the areas around refugee/IDP camps in Darfur. In South Sudan, displaced persons tend to flee into the bush; there aren’t camps around in which to target women. And according to a 2009 U.N. report, sexualized violence in Darfur has spilled over into Chad, where there are additional refugee camps.

Cultural Gender Attitudes

United to End Genocide’s Shannon Orcutt describes a Darfuri woman she works with who told her that women used to be “looked to as leaders within the community”—and that this is why women are being especially targeted. Orcutt says that women are now excluded from almost all peace processes, and that this marginalization comes not from the communities but from outside humanitarian and peace-building groups that go to the men for information and leadership.

Orcutt adds that many Darfuris she has interviewed have told her that rape didn’t really occur before the conflict, although it’s possible that this is a rosy view of the past. And, says Orcutt, one woman working for UNAMID, an African Union/U.N. hybrid operation, reported that young teenagers of Arab descent “would target even young African-descent women just because they had seen this before” in the current conflict. This sort of sexualized violence—aimed at particular ethnic groups or otherwise—seemingly did not happen to the same extent before.


Rape victims must withstand threats of violence from their own families, as seen in this testimony from a May 2009 Physicians for Human Rights report called “Nowhere to Turn”:

“When I got back to my brother’s house, I told him what had happened. My brother said to me, ‘If you stay in my house, I’m going to shoot you (to kill you).’ After that, I was afraid and I came to Farchana. My mother doesn’t speak to me.”
The violence of rape can force a pregnant woman’s body to abort her baby. At the time of a attack on one woman, which was reported by Physicians for Human Rights, the woman was eight months’ pregnant. From the same report:

“I was raped vaginally by three men in front of my children. The children were forced to witness the rape.… One of the Janjaweed pushed me to the ground. He forced my clothes off and raped me. When they shot my father, they saw I was a little girl. I did not have any energy or force against them. They used me. I started bleeding. It was so painful. I could not stand up.

“I was really suffering. The next day I gave birth to a dead baby.”
This testimony of a Sudanese man in Darfur was recounted in a 2006 United Nations Population Fund briefing paper:

“In February 2004, I abandoned my house because of the conflict. I met six Arabs in the bush. I wanted to take my spear and defend my family, but they threatened me with a weapon and I had to stop. The six men raped my daughter, who is 25 years old, in front of me, my wife, and young children.”
One woman from Darfur told Amnesty International in 2004:

“I was with another woman, Aziza, aged 18, who had her stomach slit on the night we were abducted. She was pregnant and was killed and they said, ‘It is the child of an enemy.’”

Rape survivors are stigmatized and sometimes so shunned by their relatives and communities that they are forced to build their own huts and live separately from their families, according to a 2005 report by Médecins Sans Frontières. Physicians for Human Rights reported in 2009 that some relatives even threaten to kill survivors.

Women suffered and continue to suffer forced pregnancies due to rape. A 2004 Amnesty International report cited a commonly held belief in Sudan that causes further pain to women who had been raped: Many Sudanese believe unwanted sex cannot make a woman pregnant. So if she becomes pregnant, it was not through rape. If she is unmarried and chooses to rejoin her community, the community will not accept her child. Therefore, to go home, she must reject her own child.
In addition, pregnancy outside of marriage is illegal in Darfur, leading to the arrest of women who become pregnant through rape, according to Médicins Sans Frontières.

Along with all the other problems that come with raising a child born of sexualized violence, these women face raising a child that looks “light-skinned” or “Arab,” thus marking them as products of rape. One PBS “News Hour” report tells of a pregnant victim who “starved herself to death rather than face the shame of people knowing what happened to her.”

Sexualized violence has become more prevalent not just in Darfur but in Chad, where many Darfuris have fled in the past few years. Women who have been raped or vulnerable to rape in Sudan are sometimes attacked once more in and around camps in the neighboring nation. Though rape is largely perpetrated by government soldiers and their proxy militia, the Janjaweed, rape is now becoming more prevalent among civilians.

Because women are often targeted while procuring water, firewood for cooking fuel, and space to cultivate crops near refugee camps, rape increases food insecurity for women and their families.

Experts have been unable to determine clearly whether HIV rates have risen due to rape in conflict. A recent epidemiological study found that there is “insufficient evidence” that HIV transmission increases either during conflict or in refugee populations. Published in The Lancet in 2007, the study analyzed data from Democratic Republic of Congo, southern Sudan, Rwanda, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, and Burundi. Researchers report that although rape may increase an individual survivor’s risk of contracting disease, there are not enough reliable data to show that systematic rape raises the overall prevalence of HIV in a given country. Previous studies may have been conducted poorly, or may have been skewed by geographical access restricted to urban areas with higher disease rates, according to the authors. More time-sensitive information needs to be gathered in countries experiencing conflict, they concluded.

Legal Precedents

President Omar al-Bashir is the first sitting head of state issued an arrest warrant—on 10 counts of war crimes—by the ICC. While indicted, al-Bashir has avoided arrest by traveling only to countries that will not deliver him to the ICC, such as neighboring Chad. The warrant includes language that considered that the government of Sudan’s forces “subjected, throughout the Darfur region, (i) hundreds of thousands of civilians, belonging primarily to the Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa groups, to acts of forcible transfer; (ii) thousands of civilian women, belonging primarily to these groups, to acts of rape; and (iii) civilians, belonging primarily to the same groups, to acts of torture.”

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Copyright 2012 The Moderate Voice
  • zephyr

    Anyone who doubts that evil is real and is having it’s way in the world is living a sheltered and insulated life. As always, the innocents and those who have no one to speak for them suffer the most.

  • KP

    “…we can see the archetype of rape, the intention to mark another human being with one’s own vile imprint for life….”

    Powerful. A definition of evil.

  • petew

    Dr. E,

    This is a great story that needs desperately to be told, and,your introduction to the history of rape and war in the Sudan-Darfur region is important for everyone to know!

    In any society, it is difficult to change the pattern of sexual dominance shared by men, and, the way an instinct meant to be so pleasureful and beautiful, can be used as such a vile weapon of war, is absolutely heart breaking!

    Most men, even in Western industrial countries seem to have a difficult time showing their vulnerability, and perhaps, their reluctance to give up their dominant social roles which may have aided our ancestors in their primitive struggles for survival, is still all too present! Such currently unnecessary dominance, spoils the psyches of civilizations which ought to be just that—CIVILIZED!

    I won’t pretend to be Mr. Liberated about all the aspects of my gender’s role, but, reading about the suffering of those who have been raped and abused— even suffering complete denial of their humanity, simply because men can dominate them in acts of war—is the kind of thing which brings tears to anyone’s eyes.

    In addition, learning of the social castigation suffered by women who are stigmatized and labeled as somehow unfit to live with the rest of the community, just because of their assaults, is particularly shocking. And, the cruel Irony, of being arrested after being raped because the law forbids pregnancy outside of marriage, is something that would almost be laughable it it weren’t such a Damn real occurrence which further punishes the women of Darfur through no fault of their own.

    As a child of grade school age, I remember looking at photos of Jews which had been tortured and starved in concentration camps during WW2. Seeing their physical decline at the hands of such hate and cruelty, disturbed me greatly, and I have never been able to forget the unsettling realization that we human beings are capable of such vile and ugly behavior. But since I had not been exposed to much of mankind’s violent history, I assumed that the Nazis were an isolated case that was not typical of real human nature. It is only recently, after watching a PBS documentary about genocide, that I have realized just how wide spread man’s inhumanity to man is. I remember hearing the statistic that, revealed that, during the 100 years of the 20th century, about 100 million people lost their lives due to genocide and ethnic “cleansing” committed by warring nations. So the average has been 1 million per year—a fact that doesn’t make one feel very proud to be a human being—the species which is supposed to be equipped with the use of reason and deserving of divine favors. Obviously we have a long, long, way to go!

    For several years now, I have been a fan of the television series LAW AND ORDER. I like the way Characters in the series show great strength and courage, while attempting to bring justice to the criminals who force women to surrender their dignity and power at the threat of violence and death. The series also makes it clear that most rape is not about desperation for sex, but rather an act of domination and power. It also illustrates what a disadvantage all women are at (even in modern America) when it comes to actually proving their rapes and winning convictions for their rapists.

    Apparently the violent use of power, is endemic in most parts of the world, and rape is a tragic example of that kind of domination. The first thing we need to do in order to change this “unreal,” reality, is to become aware how damaging rape is to a woman’s psyche and body. I’ve often heard the quote from (was it Mark Twain) about how the quality of a civilization is judged by how humanely it treat animals. So how much more important is the way we treat the mothers of our children and the multitudes of women that John Lennon called (in order to make an artistic point) the “ni—rs of the world?” Unfortunately what Mr. Lennon said, has always been and may always continue to be true—unless we all recognize the need to change our attitudes and our desires for power and control!

  • ordinarysparrow

    dear dr. e…. powerful posting… powerful voice……there is some writing that causes one to become so still in awareness that the breath stands at center…

    I have a story to share and it is not a pretty story, it has the power to traumatize… so if anyone is a sensitive please do not continue reading…

    Yesterday after reading a posting that asserted…. ” Manufacturing Female Victimhood Marginalizing Vulnerable Men i began to see faces…

    ” Toxic victim-consciousness is the process by which women are made into class acted upon” by emphasizing a disproportionate victimhood where none actually exists or isn’t proven.”

    I lived with that posting yesterday, reflected on my experience as well as thousands of women and children that i know personally, as well as living in Zimbabwe when it was in civil war right before the country was nationalized when rape was used as weapon of war…

    during this time i also knew two albino women that were raped repeatably because it was good juju that would supposedly help the rapist become more power and immune to evil attacks by others…i see faces…

    But the woman whose faced visited me yesterday and the woman that will never allow me to be silent is a woman that was trafficked to Barbados warehouse to be broken down into complete submission before she was to be sold to one of the prostitution rings located in U.S. or Canada.

    I have carried this woman for over ten years, and pass her to others who would ever consider saying that female victims of sexual assault is manufactured and that to be an advocate against sexual violation for women, in all of it’s forms, is manufacturing of female victim-hood.

    Two men took the woman into an enclosed space, where one man began to rape her… the other man stood at the woman’s head and just as the rapist was ready to orgasm the other male drove a large metal spike into the back of her skull.. this was done in order for the woman to go into convulsion, thus supplying the rapist with a super heightened orgasm…the woman was then put in the trunk of a car and dumped, left as dead, in an alley… miraculously the woman was discovered and lived.

    “Toxic victim-consciousness is the process by which women are made into class acted upon” by emphasizing a disproportionate victimhood where none actually exists or isn’t proven.”

    These kinds of incidents are not isolated… there are many places around the world that allows sexual war crimes and sexual exploitation and sexual slavery.

    In India one of the heartbreaks is female children are sold into sexual slavery by the parents, then when they are recovered by socially conscious groups they are scorn with threats to their lives by the very ones that sold them, because the women have been soiled by prostitution.

    This is so true… Will briefly share my own experience… In the 80’s after opening up to my personal healing and while being chemically overexposed to toxic agricultural chemicals while working for Bayer Agricultural the limbic brain was blasted and feel deep into what i continue to call the collective unconscious of the feminine soul and the collective of my Native American lineage.

    What came forth was 10,000 years of suppression by way of violence and domination. Will only share every cell in my body and soul resonates with what you write here…

    And then, as now, it took decades for those raped so often and often so precipitiously, to speak it out. And that public speaking out, did not come from the generations who suffered it so deeply and over and over. It came from us, out loud, their progeny to whom in their unguarded and agony moments, all the facts they felt so shamed by, poured out in words so jagged, in tears so acid, in heart so screaming-weeping, it burnt us in the eyes, in the spirit, it branded us. We dont forget. We wont. We cant.

    For seven long hard years i allowed the ancient reservoir to flow from the soul of me that knows no separation of time or person…

    what is not brought to light not only becomes blocked in our bodies which turns can turn to disease but what is not released from soul which at its depth is collective and one is also bound until it can be energetically released into that which is greater than the evil that bound it with fear.

    It was hell and a thousand times i only wanted to die and be away from the pain..during the day living a productive life and then returning to the dark night. ..releasing that which was bound to find that which can never be bound and is forever free.

    Nowadays all of that is in a folder which has been complied and filed away… it is a place that i can visit but it is not where i live… because i know how deep and treacherous the healing journey of abuse can be i never want to minimize ANYONE’S experience….

    It seems to me that if one has been violated and moved into a healing release then that lends to and empathic embrace for all and there is no need to pit one group against the others….

    I am also very clear that there are millions of men that would never violate.. i like men and have no need to place the scourge of rape on all men…and i deeply agree with every word you wrote here……

    Many thanks, what grace your powerful soul to pen is for so many of us that have walked the long road and know our soul but do not have the gifting of the pen… thanks for you… you write for All of us… thanks.

    Please forgive the length of this…your post and parsing allows the faces to be lifted to that which is greater than what has bound them…

  • petew

    There has been a lot of understandable use of the word “evil” concerning this incredible post. However, I would like to mention the word, “ignorance,” when used as Buddhist concept, as perhaps being more appropriate.

    According to many world faiths and spiritual bodies of knowledge, It should be mentioned that we often suffer “for” our ignorance rather than “because” of it.
    In other words, the illusion of lust for power that we have, as well the need to dominate others, is really its OWN form of hell, and we are bound to suffer on the wheel of life and death out of that blind ignorance which keeps us unaware of human dignity, and acceptance of actually loving each other as we love ourselves.

    It is a difficult thing to break through all illusions, but when we get stuck at such a low level of ignorance about the violence we create, it is really we who suffer as the perpetrators of that violence.

    It certainly is not easy to love one’s enemies, and I do not pretend to be free of the spiritual hang-ups associated with hate and resentments, but none-the-less,I feel it is necessary to recognize that the perpetrator is also his own victim in many ways.

    Some Jewish people who survived the horrors of German concentration camps have managed to really forgive their torturers on more than just a shallow level. Instead they have been able to see that their Nazi guards had lost their souls while trying to gain the world, by participating in the ugly power trips and violence employed by the third Reich.

    In reality, it was them, who were actually better off than the Nazis because, as victims, they had not given up their souls by deserting human dignity!

    Personally I don’t know if I would ever really succeed in severing my attached resentments to such violence and perverse domination. I have trouble enough letting go of everyday resentments and realizing that, in reality we are all sufferers attempting to gain release when we try to destroy another’s dignity–thinking that somehow it will benefit us.

    I don’t know if I would call myself a religious person, but when one visualizes the horror of such sadistic human beings in Darfur,forcing a child to watch his mother be raped repeatedly, and, in some cases, even forced to shoot his or her own parents, the depth of this travesty is impossible to bear without also reaching out with dignity to the many others who bravely attempt to help all victims and thereby, help restore the higher nature within all human beings.

    One can’t help but be in awe and appreciation of the words of a great spiritual leader like Christ, when saying—even while being tortured to death by Roman soldiers—“Forgive them father, for they know not what they do!”

    It’s time we all began to be aware of what we do, and try to correct the situation for ourselves and all other human beings. Thank God for the courage shown by those who actually put their physical lives on the line by providing haven for refugees and the other victims of torture, whose spirits have come close to being crushed for no reason at all—other than the greed and lust for power of their fellow human sufferers.

    Few of us, no matter how much we might donate to charity, will ever have half the courage of those who work behind the lines, in order to take small steps towards affirming the principles of love and compassion which should be deeply felt by all of us!

  • Dr. J

    It is only recently, after watching a PBS documentary about genocide, that I have realized just how wide spread man’s inhumanity to man is.

    It sure is, Pete. The surprising thing is there isn’t more of it. Throughout history we’ve always been extremely barbaric and violent with each other, and the veneer of civilization is a recent invention. I suppose it is good news of a sort that even with all the wars and genocides, we kill each other only 1/5 as often as primitive societies.

    It’s also worth noting that the OP was about man’s inhumanity not to man but to woman. Nothing wrong with detailing one class of victims, but readers should keep in mind women were a focus of the reporting, not necessarily a focus of the genocide. There are surely tales just as horrible about how the men trying to protect these women had met their ends, including rapes they did not live to tell about (and could not have discussed even had they lived).

  • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

    dr. j: I think i said in intro ‘the following chapter’… meaning this is but one chapter of many in a long book.

    Also, to many who mentioned they continue to try to learn and still struggle with the hard reality of the true evils in our worlds…
    Just want to say, just a .02, I regard highly those who try to struggle with what they see of evil. I hear when they say they hurt to hear and see human beings sufferings.

    As a PTSpecialist, I know other person’s empathic responses, matter to the human beings devastated, even when those who are empathic stand outside their personal experiences. That others see and do not superficialize it, do not attempt to encourage others to be reductionist about such huge sufferings ongoing, do not try to cast stones, do not ridicule those who have no easy answers, nor be divisive…

    your struggle about those who struggle, places you closer to their hearts, and is often appreciated by those who suffer and who often know you care. Those who are striving to walk with those who suffer also appreciate this. As a witness, I can verify that your regard, concern and your la lucha, your struggle to see and know, is appreciated.

    I respect people who indicate that they have no easy answers or nice neat wrapped up feelings that stand outside or above it all regarding violence and evil… but are striving to understand and learn still. I appreciate those who are seeking a way to love those most in need, to help even those who did harm, if possible.

    The coming to terms with evil, if I could call it that, for those as we call in my tradition: ‘persons of conscience…’ is an ongoing process. I know this and am sure of it. “Understanding, or coming to terms” may never be completed in a lifetime. But like Roncalli striving to come to terms with what he saw as a nurse in WW I as a young man, coming home daily drenched literally in the bloodloss of families gutted, young men and women, children… like Hahn of Viet Nam who writes endless books, all clear in their struggle to stay to a golden mean that allows one to not only condemn ignorance, but to understand the slaughters he witnessed–and survived…. like Tutu writing book after book about the inhumanity, Weisel, Black Elk, Dooley in Asia, Sor Juana, huge numbers of people trying to tell the stories of those treated with no more dignity than offal… these are the ones, along with Heschel and the gentle soul from Assisi– I strive to read and follow, including ‘the occasional angel’ and ever Who i call “Source without source.”

    I think never finding the ‘completely comfortable place’ to understand evil is a credible evidence that one has likely not become cemented shut, nor jaded, not callous, not set aside from either pain or happiness, but is, striving toward a certain kind of consciousness in which all flimsy, overly-convenient, offhanded thought and sentimental and reductionist viewpoint is burned away, leaving only, I think the Sacred Heart of humanity, steadily beating away for the better, for the good. I think matters we carry in long-thought as lifelong learners, matters. To each in his own way. To each in her own way. As each sees fit.

    This is just my 02 worth. And comes, as it ever will, with love.

    thank you who commented here thus far and I can see from reading the words you wrote, that some of what you said carried a cost, and I appreciate that you paid it and told a true story of your own life, true stories of how you are learning. I learned from you, and I thank you.

  • ashley_johnson

    Dr. E

    I was just listening to Women Who Run with the Wolves on my iPhone yesterday while I was driving for what seemed like forever. Long enough to listen to the whole book, if that says anything. I have read it before, but I heard some of it differently than when I read it about 5 years ago. If that makes any sense… Just wanted to mention that because it had a very positive influence on the rest of my day 🙂

    OK, this article. It sickens me. It saddens me, and unfortunately doesn’t surprise me. It is the reason I am back in school working on my BSW. I want to do something. Anything. I don’t know what that is, yet, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. I did not read this entire article, but I have read so many like it and I get angrier each time. Being that angry, for me, is toxic. On the other hand, being that angry inspires me to get off my ass and do something about it. About all I can do is raise awareness, which I have many opportunities to do in school. I am also painfully working on some of my own trauma stuff I had previously decided to shut the door on and thought I never needed to go back there. Sometimes the nature of these articles, and my emotional response to it, is a dangerous combination lately.

    I’ve been following this woman (not in a creeper stalker way) who has inspired this pretty powerful shift in my career goals. I am working on a social work degree, and the career possibility are endless and overwhelming but now I have a pretty clear outline of the direction I want to go. As I mentioned, I couldn’t read this whole article, but I wanted to share something that brought me some hope for humanity when I started following this. There was a 14 year civil in Liberia that brought a lot of the same suffering as the woman in this story. Women were gang raped, girls were raped, kidnapped, and held as sex slaves, and young boys were kidnapped, given drugs and brainwashed to kill anyone and everyone -including their own families. If you’re interested, watch Pray the Devil Back to Hell. It’s a documentary that explains this more than my nutshell version. I also read this book, Mighty be Our Powers, that I highly recommend.

    This amazing woman, Leymah Gbowee, is almost solely responsible for ending this war and getting Charles Taylor thrown out of office (and banned from the country) through non-violent strategies. Religious and political figures (all men) had failed to do this for many years. Some of these strategies included “sex strikes” meaning husbands were…deprived… until they supported this movement 100%. Not surprisingly, it was successful. She organized this army of women that originally started as just a handful of people, but word spread and women traveled from surrounding countries to participate in this bold movement and this number grew to thousands. They all wore white to represent peace, and walked for 2 days in weather conditions that not many would last a few hours in (or at least I couldn’t anyway), and they showed up at a meeting that was supposed to result in some sort of peace negotiation. They showed up singing and praying, and completely ignoring the orders they were given to leave. The louder the men got, these women outnumbered them by thousands and continued to drown them out with song and prayer. Ms. Gbowee marched into the room stark naked and refused to put her clothes on until they started negotiating again. Apparently it’s about the most offensive thing a woman can do and it worked. Fast forwarding a little, she also successfully got these soldiers -children- to hand over their weapons and encouraged the community to see them as victims and not so much as their perpetrators. A concept that still hits me in the gut when I think about it, but it’s more effective than seeking revenge and less emotionally damaging than being filled with so much hatred. In the documentary I watched (Pray the Devil…), showed these children who have become men and they do not look like the cold blooded killer children who were not really children. For this work, she is one of three incredible women who were awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. One of the other women, Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, was the first woman president, and stepped in after Charles Taylor.

    A very powerful quote from the book: “The person who hurt you –who raped you or killed your family–is also here. If you are still angry at that person, if you haven’t been able to forgive, you are chained to him…”. That statement stops my heart for a second. I pretty much have a different initial reaction to this, but it always ends with “I could never….no way…”. She works with these young men who have also been traumatized, and who have to live the rest of their lives knowing that the unspeakable torture and suffering was at their own hands. I realize I am getting way off topic here, but I read articles like this and I feel a punch to the sternum. Then comes the confusion. I am not at a place where I am willing to forgive the men who raped me (I couldn’t even call it that until recently. The “R” word makes me sick to my stomach) and from where I stand in this moment, I will never be willing to forgive any of them. Maybe one day, but definitely not today.

    Re: the above article, I don’t really even have words, just some tears, and some feelings I’m not able to identify at the moment. I hurt for this little girl, and for all of the other human beings who are probably being assaulted right at this moment because that’s where my head goes when I know the statistics. I’m willing to bet I’m not alone in this. Anyway, I just wanted to share this, because this story, this woman, and this camaraderie is promising. I have to keep remembering just how powerful this movement was, when each of those women felt helpless as individuals. When they came together with a common purpose, they were an unstoppable force that essentially conquered 14 years of pure evil. They forgot about their differences and focused on what brought them together. We could learn a thing or two from this, in my opinion.

    This ended up being much longer than intended it to be, and I hope this stayed somewhat relevant to the original story. Even if it didn’t, I’m hoping that at the very least, at least one other person here feels a little more empowered than they did 10 minutes ago. 🙂


  • ordinarysparrow

    Thanks to petew, ashley, and dr.e. for the comments, find them very substantive and real.

    Also want to briefly speak about forgiveness…. for me forgiveness is important for the one that carries the unforgiveness as that individual comes to the place where ‘they are ready to move into those waters’….i always go back to the wisdom of Jesus; Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times,but seventy-seven times.” For me that says it is a process and each person meets that road as they are ready with whatever amount of grace and strength that is within and without, and that may come sooner or that may come later depending on each person.

    A very powerful quote from the book: “The person who hurt you –who raped you or killed your family–is also here. If you are still angry at that person, if you haven’t been able to forgive, you are chained to him…”.

    Ashley that is a powerful quote for it points to feeling as energy that only seeks to move from being bound to unbound.

    It took me a number of years to realized why feelings remain bound after a traumatic incident. Feeling is merely pockets of energy … energy is meant to flow like water down a river… what often happens after a traumatic event is the mind attempts to justify the feelings or attempts to get rid of the feelings by mental thought processing…which often means the person goes over and over the event through intrusive memory or through the mind attempting to find freedom from the overwhelming feelings. When feelings, ‘such as they are’, without any label of good or bad, but ‘just as they are’ is embraced without the story, without allowing the mind to jump in and create more feeling on top of the original feeling that one would like to avoid…. without acting them out on others…..then the release becomes much gentler as the bound energy is unbound released into pure flow. Flow is not painful, contraction of the bound is what hurts.

    Awareness….expression….then containment… the mind often would like to find containment and understand a traumatic event before the feelings being allowed to find expression. Or at least i sure had a tendency to want to work it out mentally rather than just sitting down owning, embracing, and entering the flow of feeling without any kind of judgment from the mind. When i was a kid i use to sit on the back Southern Baptist pew and they are known for long long alter calls…A song i never got tired of was ” Just As I Am Without One Plea”…..When i left the SB i took that song… That became the key to releasing any energetic feeling bounds… the embrace of what is, such as i am, such as it is, always with That which is always Here.

    One of the best definitions of forgiveness i know when it comes to forgiving the unforgivable is; forgiveness is when the unforgivable event no longer prevents the person from doing what they came into this world to do with their life… I love that definition for forgiveness… as you shared Ashley you are getting on with your life, and are moving towards that which you find meaningful and purposeful for yourself and others… I wish you the best in living into that….

    Just my opinion and heart, a few of chirps…

  • petew

    Dr. J,

    Perhaps I spent too much time on the overall violence during times of Genocide and ethnic “cleansing”—a term that really conveys a meaning opposite of making something clean. I didn’t intend to minimize the suffering of women in this regard and I know that Dr.E.s post was most concerned with those of that gender. I was trying to link the need for power that many of those who persecute women must surely have, to the overall power plays involved in Man’s inhumanity to man. Unfortunately women seem to make an easier target for such violence, and, what happens to them because of the male dominated societies that are often involved,is, indeed, all the more heinous because they represent easy targets.

    I also know that almost every society on earth has a long history that involves violence against others who are perceived as threats, or, who are more easily overcome in the quest for power. Chinese civilization, for example, has a long history of warring dynasties who used incredibly ugly violence and torture in order to subjugate the dominated. And Christians too, were, for several hundred years engaged in crusades that demanded violently attacking the “infidels” who occupied the holy land.

    One of the most poignant things I have ever heard is the story of how Lao Tzu–the founder of Taoism (if I have the spellings correct) transmitted his wisdom to a guard at the Great wall as he voluntarily headed for self-imposed exile in the wilderness beyond. At one point the guard, who was impressed by his wisdom, asked, “but why must you leave civilization?” Lao Tzu answered simply, “because men are just too cruel to each other.”

    I certainly hope we are gradually relying less and less on violence and, are learning not to be so cruel to each other. It seems to me that evolution can be considered spiritual as well as biological,and that, as human beings, we are meant to eventually transcend our violent natures. At least, that is a common dream that many of us have.

    Women are often the brunt of so much hatred,in the same way that Clinton answered for his sexual transgressions in the white house–by saying he did it because “he could!” many of us hurt and dominate others simply because we can! I think women are also more frequently the targets of emotional terrorism, just because they seem the most vulnerable, and those that want to hurt, them simply can!” We all need to be aware of some of these uglier aspects of the world, because many of us in America lead lives that are basically insulated from the terrible suffering of our fellow men.

    Dr. E’s post was an excellent source of edification about that suffering. And, as so many people say, the change begins only when we really become aware of the problem.

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