Khartoum, Sudan – Hundreds of women displaced by recent inter-sectarian fighting in the Al Jinina town of West Darfur are suffering from anxiety and depression as they look after their families without a husband, women’s rights activists in Sudan’s western region say. bear the responsibility of doing so.
More than 200 people were killed and more than 200 were injured in the fighting that started in April.
Thousands of families are sheltering in overcrowded conditions in government buildings, schools and mosques with limited access to proper sanitation, according to Sumeya Musa, a women’s lawyer at the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa, a local non-governmental organisation.
“Some don’t have a place to sleep, some lose their jobs and property and everything. Some suffer from social pressure, raising children alone, taking care of the elderly and sick and yet They earn nothing throughout their lives, so these economic and social pressures have really affected their lives,” Moses told VOA’s South Sudan in Focus program.
According to the United Nations, sixty-five thousand people – mostly women and children – were displaced in the wake of the violence.
Musa said that some women have reported rape or sexual assault but most incidents of sexual violence are hidden for fear of stigma.
“There are a lot of women who have had an abortion and what they really need is psycho-social support. There are also those who have unwanted pregnancies through rape cases and other forms of gender-based violence. We all know that In times of war, a lot of things happen,” Moses told VOA.
Musa said Sudanese women are hoping that peace will soon be restored so that they can return to their homes. She said many women are aware that a peace deal was signed between the transitional government and armed groups, but it is not clear what it is in relation to women’s rights.
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir mediated talks between Sudan’s transitional government and armed groups in South Sudan’s capital, Juba. The transitional government was formed after the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir after being in power for three decades. Women were key players in the pro-democracy revolution in Sudan. The women helped organize the protests that led to the ouster of al-Bashir.
Musa said that many women in synagogues do not want to talk about abuses during the recent fighting, believing they will not get help or get justice in the court system.
Musa told the VOA, “The most important thing is that women be given full protection from all forms of violence. Especially against sexual harassment at home or on the streets when they are going out in search of work or returning to the camp. Have been.” .
The United Nations Population Fund has set up five temporary locations where social workers coordinate with midwives deployed by the state health ministry to provide sexual and reproductive health services and support victims of gender-based violence.
Musa says she hopes more social workers, psychologists and health care providers will be deployed to help women in West Darfur get the help they need.