Assad’s Troops Are Raping Children to Silence Dissenters
' “I will not forgive him, nor will I let God's mercy descend onto him,” uttered a woman activist working to support rape victims at a secret humanitarian organization in Damascus.
The activist leveled this charge not against the regime and its Shabiha militias—which use this most cruel weapon of war systematically to intimidate, suppress and humiliate Assad’s many opponents—but in reference to the father of a twelve year-old girl who was brutally gang raped by pro-Assad factions in her own home in front of her family.
The Assad regime utilizes its incredibly harmful effects on the victim and her society to suppress any form of dissent. Clearly, a 12-year-old girl was no threat to the regime, but raping her in front of her family was a means to repress the opposition and callously silence those who long for freedom.
After the young girl gave birth to the child, the activist received additional reports that she and her baby were physically assaulted by her father for bringing dishonor upon the family. In the end, the young girl took her newborn child and fled from her home, prompting the activist’s earlier comment of the father who mercilessly forbade his daughter from aborting the child of a Shabiha-rape, but then displayed no mercy toward the child of that rape. Already stripped her of her humanity, her family’s shame and humiliation stripped her of it a second time.
“During my detention, I saw many female detainees whose families refused to recognize them on the assumption they had been raped, even if that wasn’t true. For example, the regime forced one activist [detainee] to conduct an interview on national television and claim that twenty-one Free Syrian Army fighters gang raped her to spread its false version of who revolutionaries are by playing on the religious and social tension of regime supporters. This was not the only injustice that she faced. After being transferred to the Adra civilian prison, her father visited her and disowned her, ordering her never to return to her community. Even if she was ever released from prison, she could never go back home.”
As a Syrian, I hope that the revolution will not only fight the Assad regime, but also the damaging traditions and mores that oppress our society. The fight for freedom calls for us to think and act logically, not to listen to overzealous religious leaders and a brutal regime.
Syria’s honor does not depend on the female hymen, but in eradicating the ruthless Assad regime and its cruel system of gender-based oppression. This is the revolution that we need.'