The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reports that rape is still being used as a weapon to terrorize women and girls, their families, and their communities in Darfur, Sudan. According to Pamela Shifman, the UNICEF advisor on violence and sexual exploitation, every woman and girl that she met while in the Darfur camps said that they had been sexually assaulted themselves, or knew of someone who had been attacked, reports UN News Service.
Shifman wrote in her diary posted on UNICEF’s website that the women and girls she spoke to while in the camps in Darfur stated that they need security because they are not safe. According to Shifman, “So many women told the same story: they are terrified to leave to get firewood– soldiers prey on women and girls along the path to collect firewood. And the cruel part is the women and the girls have no choice but to take that dangerous path for their survival.”
Up to as many as 1.5 million people have been internally displaced and another 500,000 have fled to Chad since Arab militias, known as the Janjaweed, started attacking villages last year. According to Reuters, the United Nations estimates that as many as 70,000 people have died from malnutrition and disease over the last seven months alone.