Sex and the shantytown

If you’re a woman – don’t live in Sierra Leone if you can help it.

One in 8 women dies during pregnancy or childbirth, and women have an abysmal life expectancy of just 43 years, one of the lowest in the world. Girls can expect to receive only six years of schooling. On top of it all, the horrors of Sierra Leone’s decade-long civil war, in which perhaps a third of the country’s women and girls suffered sexual violence, haunt women today. Widows struggle to get by, survivors of wartime rape face stigma and discrimination, and men continue to assault women with impunity.

One in 8! One in 8!! That’s grotesque. But Papua New Guinea is not great either.

Girls in Papua New Guinea can expect to receive only five years of schooling. What’s worse, accusing women of sorcery is often used as a form of social “payback.” If someone unexpectedly becomes ill or dies, the grievance is often taken out on an alleged “sorcerer”—almost always a woman—who is beaten, raped, or even killed in retaliation.

Haiti isn’t a female nirvana.

Nearly half the young women and girls in the capital’s Cite Soleil shantytown have been raped or sexually assaulted…[T]he problem isn’t taken seriously because many Haitians, including members of the police and judicial system, consider nonconsensual sex as rape only if the victim was a virgin….[I]f a husband finds his wife engaging in adultery in his home, the criminal code excuses him if he kills her…

And as for Yemen, why, it sounds very much like Saudi Arabia –

Early marriage is commonplace in Yemen, with 48 percent of girls married by the time they are 18 and some brides as young as 12….One in 39 women die during pregnancy or childbirth, and 1 in 10 children doesn’t make it to a fifth birthday. Yemeni women live particularly restricted lives; for example, getting a passport and traveling abroad requires a husband’s or father’s permission.

If you’re a woman…be very careful about where you settle down.

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