December 14, 2023

The horror of rape in war

There are a lot of horrors in the world. Earlier, Joyce McCauley-Benner, our Director of Public Education who is also a rape survivor, put out a statement that makes it clear: No matter the circumstance, rape is rape. 

One of the biggest reasons some support abortion, or want some exceptions to restrictions on abortions, is due to rape. Neither the woman nor the child is at fault and should not be punished—or face the death penalty in the case of the child—when they are innocent victims. Instead, FFL focuses on the protection of women. For those who become pregnant due to sexual assault, we require real support for both mother and child.

  • We see all forms of sexual assault in America, including teens who suffer statutory rape. We have worked to pass the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and also for the protection of girls taken across state lines for abortion. Girls deserve better.
  • Cartel gang members hang underwear as sick trophies of the children and women they have sexually assaulted and trafficked. Women and children deserve better.                                           
  • We condemn all forms of rape, including the most common forms, whether stranger rape or assault by someone she knows, even loves. Women deserve better.
  • Rape, as a weapon of war, has been committed against women and girls, sometimes boys and men, throughout history. It is closely related to slavery and hostage taking as well as trafficking. In every circumstance, women and teens deserve better.

Gender-based violence as a weapon of war has been used throughout history; during World War II, both Allied and Axis armies gruesomely committed rape to terrorize enemy civilian populations and demoralize enemy troops.

For the latter part of the 20th century, cases of rape were documented in more than 20 military and paramilitary conflicts. In the 1990s, rape was a strategically used method of ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia and as a means of genocide in Rwanda. These are only a handful of examples.

This year, we watched in horror as Hamas terrorists used rape and other forms of torture as a weapon of war against women.

To the victims, we want you to know that no matter your religion, ethnicity, age, origin, or any other excuse some man or gang of men use to commit their baseless, brutal acts, we cry out for you. We support you. And we stand firm in our commitment to advocate for women’s rights and dignity, and accountability for those who violate them.

Because women—and girls—deserve better,

Serrin M. Foster