(UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe)

West Darfur women speak out against assault and rape

A women’s activist from the Murrayat area in West Darfur State’s Krienk locality has revealed that women have undertaken menial tasks to survive which exposes them to rape and assault.

A women’s activist from the Murrayat area in West Darfur State’s Krienk locality has revealed that women have undertaken menial tasks to survive which exposes them to rape and assault.

Husna Hassan Haroun told Radio Tamazuj that the harsh realities faced by women in her community have made them engage in bricklaying, collecting firewood, and other tedious tasks that were the preserve of men.

“Women endure domestic violence and undertake strenuous tasks such as brick-making, farming, and gathering firewood and grass from remote areas which makes them vulnerable to assault, theft, and rape,” she explained. “Even the snacks they bring for their children are forcefully taken from them. Women experience violations daily. If a woman denies herders access to her farm for grazing, she is subjected to beatings and rape.”

Hassan added: “These perpetrators confiscate everything from the women, including the donkeys they ride and the shawls they use to carry water jerrycans.”

She further explained that at the beginning of the ongoing war, women used to stay away from home to avoid being targeted.

“In the early days of the conflict, we spent the entire days outside our houses to avoid encountering raiders who invade homes,” Hassan lamented. “If they find you at home, they beat and torture you and seize valuable possessions. Consequently, we vacated our houses, allowing them to take whatever they desired.”

She explained that they could not observe Ramadan last year because they had to spend the entire day outside their homes, fearing beatings. Additionally, she said the raiders took everything, including the chickens they raised.

“I do not foresee people being able to cultivate the land this season. Without agriculture, a catastrophe will occur,” Hassan stated.

She attributed the failure to cultivate to the lack of security, looting, and plundering of crops and said that some families have fled to Chad due to concerns about food and security.

The activist emphasized the urgency of providing food, as some families may go without lighting a cooking fire in their homes for two days.

“Addressing women’s issues in the region requires increased awareness efforts and promptly intervening in case of any violations against them,” Hassan concluded.