Once again, the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof has taken our breath away. His column led yesterday with a story of a 3-year-old girl undergoing treatment for rape and gonorrhea in a Sierra Leone rape treatment center. Kristof reports that in the Freetown facility, run by the International Rescue Committee, more than a quarter of all rape victims are just 11 years old or younger.
War often makes sexual victims of women and children, and tragically women and children often remain sexual targets long after peace is declared.
In war-torn Sierra Leone, justice is rare; criminal convictions are obtained for fewer than one half of one percent of all rapes.
Kristof writes that House Republicans want to eliminate funding for the United Nations Population Fund, which runs programs to stop rape in places like Sierra Leone.
While Million Moms Challenge is focused on ensuring that women and babies in the developing world survive and thrive, we can’t help but pause to consider that when women and girls can’t leave their homes without fearing a sexual attack, it is hard to prioritize healthy pregnancies, good nutrition and infant vaccinations.