World Refugee Day: In disasters, violence against women is the huge, often hidden story


By Sharman Stone, Australia's Ambassador for Women and Girls
Publication date: 20 June 2018

After her son’s murder, Miriam* finally fled her village in Myanmar’s conflict-ravaged Rakhine State. Even as Miriam escaped, the few precious belongings she could grab were snatched from her, and she recalls how she was forced to drink water from bamboo to survive the long trek to neighbouring Bangladesh.

Of the nearly 700,000 Rohingya refugees that have crossed into Bangladesh since August 2017, well over half are women and girls, and many, like Miriam, have reported grave human rights abuses.

The Rohingya refugee crisis is extreme, yet violence against women and girls occurs everywhere, in both developed and developing nations. Worldwide – including here in Australia — on average one in three women face some form of violence at some point in their lives. Cases spike dramatically amid emergencies, but far too often go unreported. In this, the 21st century, rape is still used as a weapon of war, and fear, shame and stigma stops many survivors from speaking out.

Read the full opinion piece here. 

Clare Price