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Sexual Exploitation of Women and Girls in Kenya in Return for Food

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Women and girls have been sexually exploited in return for food in northern Kenya (representative image). VOA
  • Food and water in Kenya are in short supply due to drought, leaving the African country on the brink of famine
  • The IRC explained that the food crisis has led to an increase in early and forced marriages, and involvement in “transactional sex”
  • Many of these girls told the NGO that their family members were relying on them for food

Nairobi, July 5, 2017: Women and girls have been sexually exploited in return for food in northern Kenya, where gender-based violence is on the rise, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) said on Wednesday.

“The IRC’s work with women and girls in northern Kenya has served as a critical lifeline for those who have experienced sexual gender-based violence and others forced to engage in sex work to survive,” Conor Philips, Kenya Country Director at the IRC, was quoted as saying by Efe news.

Food and water in Kenya are in short supply due to drought, leaving the African country on the brink of famine.

The IRC explained that the food crisis has led to an increase in early and forced marriages, and involvement in “transactional sex”.

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Additionally, 12-year-old girls, who moved from rural to urban areas for prostitution, receive, according to the IRC, 50 shillings ($0.50) in exchange for sex.

Many of these girls told the NGO that their family members were relying on them for food.

“The current drought has led to a scarcity of food and an increase in women and girls who need support — now more than ever,” Philips added.

At least 2.6 million Kenyans suffer from food insecurity caused by drought, which has led to losing livestock, malnutrition, infectious diseases and a fivefold increase in food prices.

The IRC denounced the lack of funding for its programmes aimed to support this vulnerable population. In 2016, donors cut funding for programmes dealing with gender-based violence, psychosocial support, reproductive health, and mentorship to adolescent girls, among others.

“Donors should reinstate funding now, supporting girls to get out of commercial sex work and have better and safer opportunities to feed themselves and their families,” he said.

The IRC, which was founded in 1933 to help victims of Nazism in Germany, operates in 42 countries to help people affected by war, civil conflict or oppression. (IANS)

 

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Inside ‘Pitaji’ Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s ‘Gufa’, ‘Pardon’ meant Rape

Sadhvis of the controversial Dera Sacha Sauda sect were forced to seek 'mafi' (pardon) from its chief, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. The 'mafi' turned out to be rape.

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Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
DSS chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. IANS

Chandigarh, September 8, 2017 : Female disciples or ‘sadhvis’ of the controversial Dera Sacha Sauda sect were forced to seek ‘mafi’ (pardon) from its chief, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, at his whims and fancies. For those who did not know what ‘mafi’ meant, it turned to be rape by the man whom they considered their god.

These gory details have emerged in the judgment which recently convicted Ram Rahim for the rape of two female disciples in 1999.

The DSS chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who turned 50 last month, was sentenced by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court judge Jagdeep Singh to 20 years’ rigorous imprisonment — 10 years for each count of rape.

Investigations by the CBI, as quoted in the judgment, describe a ‘gufa’ (cave) of the accused inside the sprawling 600-acre campus of the DSS sect near Sirsa town in Haryana.

One of the rape victims told the court and the CBI that she heard of the word ‘mafi’ from other sadhvis.

“The other sadhvis used to ask her (Victim A) as to whether ‘pitaji’ (father, as Ram Rahim is referred to by his followers) had granted ‘mafi’ to her or not, but at that time she did not understand the meaning of the word. When she used to ask from them as to what was the meaning of ‘mafi, they used to laugh at her,” the judgment, quoting the statement of one of the rape victims, said.

It was on the night of August 28, 1999, that the victim was taken by DSS ashram in-charge Sudesh to the ‘gufa’ of the self-styled godman. The victim gave details of what happened inside the gufa and how she was raped by the person whom she considered her god.

The victim said that Ram Rahim told her that she had become ‘apavitar’ (unholy) because of her past deeds and that he was going to purify her. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who was watching a porn film when the victim entered his room, even had a pistol on the bed to intimidate her. After committing the rape, he warned her against relating the incident to anyone, failing which she and her family would be eliminated.

The same victim was again raped by the sect chief after a year.

Almost a similar modus operandi was adopted while committing rape on Victim-B in September 1999.

The CBI investigation revealed that out of the 133 sadhvis residing in two hostels of the DSS campuses, 24 had left during 1997-2002. The CBI, which was entrusted the inquiry into happenings at the DSS campus after an anonymous letter of rape and sexual exploitation of sadhvis by the sect chief emerged in 2002, could trace only 18 sadhvis who had faced exploitation during their stay.

“Both the prosecutrix, i.e. prosecutrix-A and prosecutrix-B, have stood like rocks and credibility of these witnesses/victims could not be impeached despite very lengthy cross-examination and they have consistently deposed that they were ravished by the accused while residing in the Dera campus,” the 167-page conviction judgment noted. (IANS)

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Ram Chandra Chatrapati: The Braveheart Journalist who was Shot Dead for Exposing Sacha Sauda Dera Chief Ram Rahim

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Ram Chandra Chatrapati
Ram Chandra Chatrapati. Twitter
  • The journalist who exposed the Gurmeet Ram Rahim rape case was shot dead
  • A murder case is being heard by the same CBI court which pronounced verdict in the rape case
  • Ram Chandra Chatrapati was murdered after publishing the anonymous letter 

Chandigarh, Aug 25, 2017: The CBI court which pronounced verdict in a rape case against Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim later today, also heard 15 years old murder case of a journalist who exposed Dera chief’s sexual exploitation on two women followers.

While the son of the journalist, Anshul is battling to solicit justice for his father all alone, the death of Ram Chandra Chatrapati, then 53-year-old on October 24, 2002, went largely unnoticed.

Also Read: Ram Rahim Convicted of Rape: Here is the 15 Years Old Anonymous Letter from a Sadhvi 

Ram was an editor of a local daily Poora Sach (Complete truth). He published the anonymous letter three-page letter written by a sexually harassed woman follower, who explained the wrong deeds of Ram Rahim in the name of God. This infuriated the followers of Sacha Sauda. On the night of the murder, two men riding a bicycle professing to be followers of Sacha Sauda had shot at him four times from point-blank range.

The well-known journalist, Shekhar Gupta recalled the death of Ram Chandra in his tweet:

Dr Munish Raizada, a notable activist, also highlighted the plight of the family of the deceased journalist:

The quantum of punishment of the Ram Rahim rape case will be pronounced on Aug 28.

NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

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Muslim Women are not Doormats: The Shocking Truth about the ‘Nikah Halala’

Though many Islamic countries have long banned it, in India, this practice still continues

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Muslim Women and Shocking truth about the Nikah Halala
Muslim Women and Shocking truth about the Nikah Halala

– by Salil Gewali

  • Many Islamic countries have long banned Nikah Halala but in India, the practice is still done
  • This is a criminal offense committed in the name of religion
  • More vocal Malalas should take birth to raise the relentless voice against Nikah Halala

Shillong (India), August 21, 2017: The most shocking fact about the ‘Nikah Halala’ has recently been brought to light by the India Today media. This media certainly deserves a pat on its back for broadcasting to the world the “darkness of lust” that invariably frightens away the very spirit of womanhood. How on earth such practices which openly dehumanize the woman are sanctioned by law is difficult to fathom. She is sexually exploited by an unknown person for over a night. Is it not outrageous?

Though many Islamic countries have long banned Nikah Halala, in India, this practice often forces the desperate women, who want to regain the warmth of the past husband, to depend on the cleric scholars around. Such lecherous people put up themselves for the job. Is it not humiliating fact that apart from spending one night with a complete stranger, the divorced Muslim women are required to cough up anywhere between Rs. 20000/- to Rs. 150000/-.

This shocking Nikah Halala or one-night-marriage makes only a divorced Muslim women eligible to further seek the formal reconciliation (marry) with the first husband. Is not the sex without “love” itself spiritually a big sin? Alas, this retrogressive and godless practice is still prevalent in the 21st century while the roar of the triple talaq is still getting shriller!

 

More vocal Malalas should take birth
More vocal Malalas should take birth

Though no strong scream of protest against this bizarre practice is heard, a few conscious Muslim men and Muslim women are up in arms, also some Muslim Maulvi’s. Maulana Maqsood-ul-Hasan Qasmi, the head of the Imam Council of India, retorts – ‘This is lust. It’s not permissible in “Islam”. This is a “criminal offense” committed in the name of religion’.  One friend of mine Mr. Shafiq Alam bursts out in deep anguish “As a father of three daughters I know how such anti-female practices have brought “grief” to millions of households. Much of the texts of the Holy Quran have been either misread or deliberately distorted and misinterpreted by the vested interests which they use to justify any inhuman activities”. Indeed, most of the “explosive activities” that have often been rocking and shocking the world have their roots in the “wrong interpretation” of the holy texts.

Muslim women suffering
Muslim women suffering

There is nothing secret how disgustingly countless females across the globe suffer under the veil of chastity which only contributes to stifling their “vigor” of individuality, feminine potentiality, and creativity. I guess, more vocal Malalas should take birth to raise the relentless voice against ‘Nikah Halala’, gender discrimination and irreligious prejudices strangling the holy Islam. Oh Allah the Almighty, save us all from the evil mongers!

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter @SGewali


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