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Thread: HEAL Africa and violence against women

  1. #1 HEAL Africa and violence against women 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    From New Scientist 1 March 2014, page 29. An interview with African surgeon, Jo Lusi

    In the Democratic Republic of Congo, women are victims of war. They get raped, most viciously. Sometimes with a rifle barrel. Often with such violence that they end up with permanent and distressing injury, such as a vaginal fistula, which leaves them barren, or with a bladder that leaks constantly. They get rejected by everyone around them including husbands and family.

    HEAL Africa is a hospital in the Congo which provides reconstructive surgery for such women, and helps them rebuild their lives. According to Dr. Lusi, such rapes are common in their culture, designed to humiliate and victimise an enemy, and show the power of the conqueror.

    What do you guys think needs to be done? How can such attitudes be changed? And is it not wonderful that there are people like Dr. Lusi, prepared to dedicate their lives to such a labour of love?


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    Just give up Africa already.

    I hate it when celebrities and governments go there and donate FOOD to people there. FOOD.

    So what? They eat, be happy, then run out of food. Why not invest on something to get them out of poverty?


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    To Yellow.

    Sub Saharan Africa has an average economic growth of 3.5% per annum. At that rate, within half a century, they will be 'wealthy' as middle class westerners. The disaster in Africa is not the common people, who can work hard, and apply their own innovative solutions to their problems. The real disaster is the nasty cultural elements which lead to corruption and nepotism in government, and to such things as the mistreatment of women I mentioned in the OP.
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    I strongly question most instances of "violence against women". 1 in 10 women live in a country where violence against women is not considered a crime... and 10 out of 10 men live in a country where violence against men is considered comedy. Which sounds worse to you?
    Seeing as this is happening in Africa, it looks more believable. If women really are the vast majority of victims (my number is 95% or 0.95), I am willing to support this. Are there any statistics on the matter?
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    To Anti

    I can absolutely guarantee you that women are the majority victims of rape!
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    Quote Originally Posted by YellowKazooie2 View Post
    Just give up Africa already.

    I hate it when celebrities and governments go there and donate FOOD to people there. FOOD.

    So what? They eat, be happy, then run out of food. Why not invest on something to get them out of poverty?
    Like what? Oil? Diamonds? Gold? Coltan? We do, but African countries are dependent on foreign markets for investment capital, technology, as centres to trade raw materials etc. Because African countries are dependent on foreign markets, they unfortunately hold very little influence on goods and resources exploited from their own territories.

    Nigeria, and Gabon should be two of the richest countries in the world - but because they are oil dependent, and lack the infrastructure and technology to exploit oil on their own, corporations such as Shell (in Nigeria) hold all the cards in oil development, which results in favours and concessions that only benefit multi-national companies and the elite of Gabonese/Nigerian society. Although it is tempting to place all the blame multi-national companies, corruption is also a major issue when it comes to valuable resources. As much as 10 billion dollars of Nigerian oil revenue has gone unaccounted for between 2007-2009. This is ethnocentrism at work.

    In the '90s, Nigeria somehow managed to amass an external debt of 40 billion dollars without any infrastructure or capital investment to show for the losses - yet at the time, Nigeria was accumulating an average of 30 billion every year. Wrap your head around that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    From New Scientist 1 March 2014, page 29. An interview with African surgeon, Jo Lusi

    In the Democratic Republic of Congo, women are victims of war. They get raped, most viciously. Sometimes with a rifle barrel. Often with such violence that they end up with permanent and distressing injury, such as a vaginal fistula, which leaves them barren, or with a bladder that leaks constantly. They get rejected by everyone around them including husbands and family.

    HEAL Africa is a hospital in the Congo which provides reconstructive surgery for such women, and helps them rebuild their lives. According to Dr. Lusi, such rapes are common in their culture, designed to humiliate and victimise an enemy, and show the power of the conqueror.

    What do you guys think needs to be done? How can such attitudes be changed? And is it not wonderful that there are people like Dr. Lusi, prepared to dedicate their lives to such a labour of love?
    In my opinion, the best way to solve this problem is reconciliation. I bet that a large portion of those victims are Hutu refugees that are currently suffering from a retaliatory genocide at the hands of the Tutsi-centric, "democratic", Republic of Rwanda.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stander-j View Post
    Wrap your head around that.
    Don't waste your time arguing with a banned sock-puppet troll. He was posting nonsense (and some offensive stuff) all over the forum.
    stander-j likes this.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PumaMan View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by stander-j View Post
    Wrap your head around that.
    Don't waste your time arguing with a banned sock-puppet troll. He was posting nonsense (and some offensive stuff) all over the forum.
    Didn't even notice that the username was orange.
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  11. #10  
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    One thing to reduce the rape toll is to look at how and when women are attacked and think about ways to avoid them being in that vulnerable place/ position in the first place.

    On the "Go Back to Where You Came From" series on Australian tv, there was one bloke who was really distressed. Why? Because the group were in Congo and they'd scraped up the money to fix some machines and equipment that the women in this place needed to earn money from making stuff. And they were dancing around singing No More Rape because this meant that they wouldn't have to go into the forests to fetch stuff as they'd had to do when the machines were kaput. He was upset because his group was simply transient and there was no guarantee that the machines wouldn't conk out next week and the gototheforestandprobablygetraped problem would be back. And there seems to be little to no hope of ending the war any time soon.

    Funding startups of workshops where women can earn money without having to risk being raped is a good idea. Maybe helping this bloke get his machines into various regions of Africa would be a good idea. Each machine employs 10 people. And he's a man really worth supporting and encouraging. Anyone who starts out as ignorant as him and actually learns what he needs to to make life better for other people is A Good Person. Crazy, obsessed, weird, perverse Pharyngula

    There's a sort of similar problem in many areas of rural India. Poor people don't have indoor toilets and they seem not to have a culture/practice of using chamberpots. So a woman who wants to go to the toilet after dark has to go into the fields or the woods - and that's where many rapes happen. Finding a way to instal latrines reasonably close to people's houses would reduce this particular instance of rape/violence against women.

    And if people don't want to deal with preventing this kind of violence or dealing with poverty/culture/ignorance there are other things you can do. Specifically, funding services to help people who have obviously been injured. My current frontrunner for any spare dollars is the Acid Survivors Trust. Home | Acid Survivors Trust International I realise this is Asia rather than Africa, but the world's problems are immense and varied.
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    That was a nice post, Adelady. Constructive and thoughtful.

    I recently read of a simple 'solution' to a lot of Africa's worries. Tell me what you think of it.

    The idea is simply to give small, but useful amounts of money to individual women. The women who get the money can then invest it in small enterprises. Obviously some will give it to their menfolk, or waste it in other ways, but enough will use it constructively to make the operation worth while.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    That was a nice post, Adelady. Constructive and thoughtful.

    I recently read of a simple 'solution' to a lot of Africa's worries. Tell me what you think of it.

    The idea is simply to give small, but useful amounts of money to individual women. The women who get the money can then invest it in small enterprises. Obviously some will give it to their menfolk, or waste it in other ways, but enough will use it constructively to make the operation worth while.
    I think it's probably a good way to go. Especially if you allied it to something like the way the Grameen Bank operated years ago (I don't know whether the practice continues). The women who received advances - for the prince's ransom of $20 or so - didn't just run their businesses and repay their loans. They also had regular classes on finance and health and education issues.

    One good place to participate in this sort of thing at the individual level is through the Grameen Foundation. Grameen Foundation | Connecting the World's Poor to Their Potential Though they don't have a really big presence in Africa as they do in Asia.

    As for me. I'm pretty broke just now, but when I get some spare $$$ I might try and track down that sanitary pad machine man. The greatest benefit that rich westerners like us didn't even think about until he mentioned it was the link to education of girls. If fewer girls drop out of school when they start menstruating the world will be a much better place. And their mothers/ aunties/ neighbours can make a good living at the same time. Also making the world a better place.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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