The horrific world of rape

Sometimes it is just simply impossible to believe what is happening in the world.

This week two horrendous gang rape cases have come to our attention and in both cases the authorities have a lot to answer for.

This morning the BBCs Today Programme reported of a particularly horrific case of a young woman in Brazil. The story, which is now online, was originally reported by the Brazilian station Globo.

According to the BBC, the woman was arrested on suspicion of theft in the northern Brazilian town of Abaetetuba. She was placed in a police cell with 20 men. She was held there for a month and was repeatedly sexually abused and raped and forced to have sex to obtain food.

How the authorities could have ever placed her in a cell with so many men is beyond me. The reports suggest she may have been as young as 15, and what makes the case even more tragic is that it appears she was never charged.

The states governor, Ana Julia Carepa, has now promised a full inquiry.

Meanwhile, the Saudia Arabia gang rape case continues to rumble on. To give a quick update, a rape victim in the country was sentenced to 90 lashes and six months imprisonment. Yes, you read that right the first time: A rape victim is to be punished.

The 19-year-old was raped by seven men after her car was forcibly stopped. And the reason for the lashes? She was in a car with a man who was not a close relative.

Naturally, her husband was furious and lambasted the legal system. The reaction? The sentence was increased to 200 lashes!

Over the last few days, Amnesty International has been leading the call for the case to be reviewed.

Since then Hilary Clinton and Joan Bakewell in todays Independent have added their voices to the call, and the news today is that the Saudis might at last be seeing some degree of sense.

The countrys US ambassador has promised that the case will be re-examined. However, given what happened the last time it went to appeal

Finally, a quick heads up. Next Friday sees the launch of a new Amnesty report on rape and sexual violence in Uganda. The report, entitled Doubly traumatised, reveals how rape and violence against women and girls as young as five is prevalent in the country. Watch this space

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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