News / Africa

Somali Women Train to Fight Sexual Violence

A Somali child stands under the solar powered lights at a refugee camp that were installed to help combat the rampant rapes that were occurring at night, in Mogadishu, Somalia, July 17, 2013.
A Somali child stands under the solar powered lights at a refugee camp that were installed to help combat the rampant rapes that were occurring at night, in Mogadishu, Somalia, July 17, 2013.
— The Somali government and African Union have wrapped up a two-day training course for women on how to protect themselves from rapists. The United Nations says it registered 1,700 cases of rape in Somalia last year.

This is the first training to be held in Mogadishu as the government struggles to protect women from rapists in towns and camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs). According to the organizers, the training focused on 20 women working with women's organizations and displaced persons camps in central Somalia.

Human rights organizations have accused Somali government soldiers and militia groups of committing widespread abuses, including rape.

African Union Mission for Somalia Gender Officer Mane Ahmed said the training is important for women as they try to find a solution to sexual violence. She said the training will make men think twice before assaulting a woman sexually, because the project aims to train all women in the country.

“We also need to think of security of women in Mogadishu and in all other regions and to give them skills to defend themselves with some basic skills, and also giving them confidence they will be able to defend themselves, they will be able to defend their sisters. And men will also know that they cannot now just try to rape or attack a woman,” she explained.

The training course teaches women how to be alert and how to defend themselves when attacked, through methods such as martial arts kicking or a punch to the groin.

Ahmed noted that women's groups asked for assistance to protect themselves because there was such a problem with sexual violence, and they wanted to be able to protect themselves.

“They were like, 'If you cannot have guns, if you cannot have weapons, please give us the skills to defend ourselves,' so this is coming from them. They believe in themselves, they believe that if they know how to defend themselves they will be able to secure their family, and to secure their environment and to remain safe.”

The organizers expect the 20 women to go back to their organizations and IDP camps to pass on the lessons and training as an important step to protect women from sexual attacks.

You May Like

Diplomats Work to Extend Israeli-Palestinian Cease-Fire

US Secretary of State John Kerry, diplomats from France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Turkey and Qatar gathered in Paris Saturday to discuss crisis More

Photogallery US Defense Department Warns of Arms to Eastern Ukraine

‘Imminent’ delivery of Russian rocket launcher poses threat to civilians, US says More

Video Researchers: Africa Genetically Modified Crops Held Back by Scaremongering

GM crops offer best hope of increasing productivity and coping with climate change in Africa, according to co-author of Chatham House report More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid