By Yasmeen Maxamuud
Women in Somalia have had enough. A young 12 year old girl has been raped, killed and placed her mutilated, desecrated body in front of her family’s door this week. The tragedy of Caa’isha Ilyas is not an isolated incident. Young girls are snatched off the streets and raped; women of all ages are raped continuously every day in Somalia. Underaged girls are also exploited through forced marriage to older men, who are old enough to be their grandfather, this is the life a young Somali female must face, she is either being given away in forced marriage, is raped by a male relative, neighbor or stranger in the most heinous way, or must endure a horrific traditional practice where her private part goes through a rusted old knife to satisfy those obsessed with her body, the controlling of it, the exploitation of it, or giving her away in forced planned marriage to satisfy an old rift or even to settle a political favor.
Rape issues for Somali men have become something to discuss over tea and forget. Such is the justice Somali women face. The women on this footage (video see the link) are asking, mostly begging their men to stop this horrendous act against Somali females.
I have lived in Somalia for a year and half now. I was here a few months when I realized women are not valued, respected or considered something to love or respect. Women spaces are nonexistent, every inch of this land belongs to the men to corrupt, ruin and steal for their use.
I was amazed at the total disregard for women, the way men look at you, and make you feel you don’t Belong. I was aghast how males from young and old disrespect women and they walk with confidence, showing you in their demeanor they own the street. It’s so difficult to be a woman in Somalia. Sexual harassment, cheap talk with sexual innuendo is so common, you are silenced by the disgusting way men throw sexuality at women and pretend it’s normal.
Walking down any street to go about your business after these men come out for their siesta happy hour, when they take over every walkable inch of the street, to enjoy each other over their afternoon tea, they hover over each other and when a woman, a girl or anyone they deem meat walks in front of them, they all stop and peer through her covered up body. They make the woman loose her demeanor; she walks confused and vulnerable, regretting she came to bein with, she begins to blame herself. That hour is the hour I call the ‘meat hunting hour’. I have been completely forced against my will and freedom to go out of my house the hours between Assar prayers until Maghreb. It’s utterly indecent for a society to accept this horrific treatments for any one let alone women.
This country which calls itself a Muslim country has become for Somali women a prison of rape and exploitation. Islam is a just and equitable religion that allows women many rights, but a nomadic culture of hate has taken over Islam so that camels are more valued than women. The way the male population in this country are raping, maiming and exploitative to its women and children will bring this country to its knees, until justice prevails for all and women are given their rights under Islam.
So it doesn’t surprise me this case will go as many cases before it. If the perpetrators are caught, their Male clan members will make deals with the clan members of Caa’isha’s father. Camels and money will exchange hands. Once the deal is made the men will resume their political talk, drink tea together, massage each other’s ego and the matter will be considered closed. This is how cruel Somali culture is to its women. Meanwhile Caa’isha’s mother is toiling in her own misery, having lost her precious daughter to rape. The women of the raped victims family are not part of the conversation and are never consulted on the matter.
And sadly women in this footage aren’t showing outrage with anger; they are begging their male country men. The fear in their voice confirms they have been stunned to silence. They are saying we are tired of the violence against women after 30 years of war, please stop the violence against us. No, they can’t show their outrage the way it’s done all over the world, where women have more freedoms. There is no space to yell, scream or carry signs that say we DEMAND justice. That is such a luxury. They are afraid of the price they will pay when the religious figures condemn them and force them to go back to their house. So yelling and screaming and carrying sticks to beat the animal that raped the girl, like we have seen in countries like India is not possible here.
They are begging the clan elder who will collect blood money on behalf of little Caa’isha’s family and will pocket the entire amount and divide the blood money between him and his cousins.
They are begging the so called spiritual leaders, those have since the civil war taken over our fair and just religion, they loudly condemn girls playing basketball, shouting from the mosque mimbar on Friday sermons, that such transported culture is unacceptable, this is the same religious figure , usually with multiple wives and multiple children, who becomes tongue tied when a women is raped and a small girl is killed after a heinous act. These religious figures are muted by interest and self gain and are not much concerned with the social ills of society.
They are begging politicians who think their lives would be better if these STUPID women would just stay in their kitchen and cook for their men and be ready for their men so they could grow their progeny. These are the males these poor, unfree, exploited, tragically existing women are begging for mercy. Such is the life of a Somali female.
The devil Male lives in Somalia.
Email: [email protected]
Yasmeen is a social entrepreneur and the author of Nomad Dairies.
–Rape: A Conspiracy of Silence By Yasmeen Maxamuud
–Thorns on The Path: Somali Women In Politics By Yasmeen Maxamuud
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