Rachel Vogelstein

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Women line up for aid supplies at al-Hol camp in Hassakeh province, Syria, on March 31. (Maya Alleruzzo/AP)

Last month, the Defense Department’s inspector general issued a detailed report on conditions in the al-Hol refugee and detention camp in rebel-controlled Syria. In al-Hol, tens of thousands of women and children who once lived under the so-called caliphate of the Islamic State are now being held in dire conditions. Yet minimal security permits women to spread the Islamic State ideology uncontested — resulting in what some observers are calling “a reign of fear”. If the extremist group continues to exert influence in the region despite its lack of a physical stronghold, these women will bear responsibility.

Eighteen years since the devastating terrorist attacks of 9/11, violent extremism persists unabated.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rohingya women cry while watching a graphic video of the Tula Toli massacre in their home in Thaingkhali Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh in December. (Allison Joyce for The Washington Post)

Burma’s ethnic cleansing campaign against Rohingya Muslims has been rife with sexual violence, according to recent news accounts. Among the more than 600,000 people who have fled to neighboring Bangladesh, many are survivors of rape, gang rape and sexual slavery.

How many? Pramila Patten, the United Nations special representative on sexual violence in conflict, reports that every woman she encountered during her November visit to Bangladesh had either witnessed or endured brutal sexual assault. Their stories are harrowing. One 15-year-old girl was ruthlessly dragged on the ground for over 50 feet, tied to a tree and then raped by 10 Burmese soldiers.…  Seguir leyendo »