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Increased Number Of Somali Women Reporting Being Raped, Sexually Abused

In the wake of “decades of conflict” and famine, Somalia “face[s] yet another widespread terror: an alarming increase in rapes and sexual abuse of women and girls,” the New York Times reports. “The famine and mass displacement, which began over the summer, have made women and girls more vulnerable. Many Somali communities have been disbanded,” leaving many women alone and vulnerable to al-Shabab militants, “rogue militiamen and even government soldiers [who] rape, rob and kill with impunity,” the article states, adding, “Often, the women are left wounded or pregnant, forced to seek help” (Gettleman, 12/27).

NPR’s “Tell Me More” host Michel Martin on Tuesday spoke with Jeffrey Gettleman, New York Times East Africa bureau chief and author of the article, about the victimization of Somali women and the “few small aid organizations that are helping women.” One organization, Sister Somalia, is “providing some money to a partner organization in Mogadishu that is helping women with counseling, with medical services, and they’re trying to set up a safe house where women can go and seek shelter and be safe,” Gettleman said (Martin, 1/3).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.