Rape, Shame, Outrage, and Sobbing in Guinea

Having blogged twice -- here and here -- about the September massacre by government forces in the west African nation of Guinea, I hope we're all keeping an eye on the story. Before I turn to a close-up view of the suffering, I want to note that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has brought increased global attention to reports of rapes committed during the crackdown.

"It will not surprise you to hear that I was particularly appalled by the violence against women. In broad daylight in a stadium, it was criminality of the greatest degree. And those who committed such acts should not be given any reason to expect that they will escape justice," Clinton said.

That's the big picture. Now, as I mentioned, the small picture.

Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, who has reported on the massacre for National Public Radio, wrote about the experience of gathering the stories of rape victims. Maybe it's just because I used to be a newspaper reporter, but Quist-Arcton's account makes me feel the trauma of September 28 in ways that go beyond the raw, awful facts of the rapes and the killings. Here's an excerpt:

"One woman's legs were shaking so hard against mine as she recounted her experience, speaking into the microphone, she couldn't stop. Her voice was trembling -- in turns angry, indignant, outraged, shamed, dejected and yet determined. ... By the end of her graphic and chilling testimony, most of the dozen or so other women in the room were sobbing. I felt tears rolling down my face."

Quist-Arcton's full account is here.

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