Monday, December 3, 2007

Getting Out of Iraq Doesn't Guarantee a Better Life

Someone needs to explain to me why this is ok. Teenage girls who fled Iraq with their families in the hopes of establishing a more stable existence in Syria are being forced into prostitution. They start out dancing for men in nightclubs who throw cash onto the dance floor, but this quickly turns to arranged sex with audience members.

One young woman (16 years old) said she was left at the Iraq-Syria border by her father after her cousin "took" her virginity. These women are viewed as unclean for events not of their choosing and have no future if anyone finds out what they have done.

So, how is this ok? How can these men do this to these women and turn around and condemn them for it? I realize these are very naive questions, but I just don't fucking understand it. Even when they are "rescued" and sent to protection centers, their commitment to their families, who often aren't in a position to be able to provide support, is so strong that they will escape and return to the clubs.

Being thousands of miles away from these events, literally and figuratively, it's easy to turn a blind eye from the problems these women have - problems that seem insurmountable from my cozy spot on my couch. Unimaginable (to many) oppression, poverty, abuse, neglect. Not to mention likely depression, anxiety, and PTSD, which
often are connected to nebulous physiological problems. Imagine how much more difficult day-to-day living as a woman with few options becomes when forced to deal with flashbacks, panic attacks or migraines.

We all have a responsibility to keep the flame of awareness alive. Spread the word.


Rachel said...

Yes, I find it ironic that one of the excuses the Bush regime used to justify American imperialism in Iraq is that of concern for women there. Yet, Iraqi women, who were previously somewhat liberated, are now being oppressed like never before as religious fundamentalism spreads. Too, we don't lift a finger when our allies in Saudi Arabia sentence a woman to 40 lashes after she was raped or even insist that Saudi women be permitted to drive.

Hypocrisies. It's all hypocrisies.