Conflict & Justice

Syria: men promise to marry rape victims

A group of Syrian men have decided to confront the horrors of the ongoing conflict by marrying women who have been raped, the Washington Post reports.

When a woman is raped in Syria, the act brings shame upon her and her entire family. Families have therefore been known to kill raped women to reclaim the family's so-called honor. Even when allowed to live, Syrian rape victims are generally not allowed to remarry.

A group of men want to confront this practice.

Gathered in a village near the Turkish border, where they wait with hundreds of others who have fled their homes, the men have heard stories of women being raped. One story involves four women who were allegedly raped by pro-government militiamen in the nearby town of Sumeriya.

The men have not met these women, but they want to rescue -- as in marry -- them.

(From GlobalPost: Syria says EU sanctions amount to declaration of war)

“It made us so mad. Such an injustice. We have decided, we will marry them,” Ibrahim Kayyis, a 32-year-old baker, told the Washington Post. “We sat and discussed that we want to change this. We don’t want to change just the regime in Syria, but also this kind of stuff. So we will marry them in front of everyone."

The men accuse the government forces and their allies of using rape to attack their honor. Rape has long been used during conflicts as a weapon on war.

The Syrian government has responded to the mounting protests against its regime by cracking down hard on demonstrations and storming entire towns.

Earlier this week there were reports of Syrian troops and armored vehicles sweeping through villages in an advance towards the Turkish border, in an apparent bid to assert more control over the area. The sweeps were triggering a flood of new crossings into Turkey.

A spokesman for Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Agency estimated that the number of Syrians taking refuge in Turkey by late afternoon Thursday was close to 11,000.

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