Radio Ergo, a news network in Somalia, recently interviewed two women living in an IDP camp in Mogadishu who talked about their experiences working as domestic workers in the city and how they were raped by the men who hired them for work.
Both women are the sole providers for their respective families and seek out casual work to make a living. According to a UNDP Gender in Somalia brief, “many women still work in menial positions, involving ‘sacrifice, risk and humiliation,’ and often only making enough money to sustain themselves and their families”.
One of the two women who was interviewed, Kaltumo Abikar (pseudonym), stated that she was raped twice this year while seeking work. Kaltumo was pregnant at the time of both rapes. According to Radio Ergo, Kaltumo did not report the incidents of rapes to the local authorities because “she did not think anyone would listen to her story and did not believe she would get any justice”.
Ruqiyo Hamud, the pseudonym given to the other rape victim, was raped at gunpoint by her employer inside his house. It is not clear whether or not Ruqiyo reported her case to the local authorities.
There is a concerning lack of data regarding the prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence in Somalia. This is because many women believe that their claims will not be heard and that they won’t receive the justice they seek, hence why many rape cases go unreported.
The United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Pramila Patten addressed the United Nations Security Council on March 29th regarding the increase of sexual violence in Somalia. According to the Secretary-General, women and girls in Somalia have been placed in a state of “acute vulnerability”.
“Impunity for the perpetrators of crimes of sexual violence continues to be a concern. Mistrust of the criminal justice system, gender biases of police officers, the lack of financial resources and the victims’ lack of knowledge of their rights impede their access to justice” the Secretary-General stated.
Seeking justice for women like Kaltumo and Ruqiyo seems to be even more difficult, as people in IDP camps have no access to legal help due to the lack of structures in place to assist those who need it the most.
[Image via Radio Ergo]
*This article was originally posted on our previous website on 6th September 2019.