"The international community is increasingly recognizing that gender based violence is a constant feature in conflict situations. In military confrontations, women’s bodies often become one of the terrains of war. Physical, emotional and sexual violence perpetrated against women and girls has been used to impose political agendas, humiliate opponents, and destroy entire communities.
Violence against women is not merely a side effect of conflict, but an integral part of it.
The situation that women in Iraq are facing today is a stark illustration of this phenomenon."
"...The rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and the collapse of the Iraqi Security Forces in Mosul in June have led the federal government to revive its dependence on militias to help fight the growing insurgency. Meanwhile, ISIS has imposed a reign of terror in the areas in controls, imposing strict moral codes on women, massacring unarmed civilians, and kidnapping minority women and girls on a massive scale.
The fighting in Iraq has generated mass population displacement and created tens of thousands of widows and female-headed households. Often driven to economic desperation due to the loss of male breadwinners, and cut off from community support structures, displaced women and their children are at high risk of sexual abuse and being trafficked into prostitution by criminal gangs.
Women who fall prey to sexual exploitation can easily become trapped in cycles of abuse. Because of the stigma associated with kidnapping, sexual assault and involvement in prostitution (even if forced), many women do not have the choice of returning to their families."
Excerpt from No Place to Turn: Violence against women in the Iraq conflict, by Miriam Puttick for the Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights and Minority Rights Group International.
When you support displaced families, like the woman pictured above, you give women a place to turn. While the issues are massive and systemic, your donations make very real change for women who are vulnerable. You are providing solutions for women who had no options.