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Loss of Innocence for Syria’s Female Refugees

Jessica Tanner, Staff Writer
Last Modified: 15:44 p.m. DST, 1 July 2013

Mother and Child in Zaatari Refugee Camp, by Emad ZyuodThe Syrian women describe how even going to the bathroom in the Zaatari camps can be a threat. “There is no light, if we come in here there could be a guy hiding or something,” one of them says. None of the female refugees want to be identified. Their fear follows them, even as they seek refuge across the border in Jordan.

Zaatari is a refugee camp in Jordan, located 10 km east of Mafraq. It was first opened on July 28, 2012 to host Syrians fleeing the violence in the ongoing Syrian civil war that erupted in 2011.

According to Wikipedia, the camp population amounts to 19000-38000 refugees.

Even with the promise of “safety” for the female refugees, there is still another catch. Many of Syria’s female population have had to trade fear of death in their homeland for fear of something much worse: rape.

There have been various threats of sexual harassment and rape in the Zaatari camp – teeming with masses that continue to stream across the border. This crisis has resulted in a disturbing growing phenomenon: “sutra” marriages, or marriages for protection.

Many families who feel like they are unable to protect their female family members are marrying them off for their own safety. The majority of families are saying that they had no other alternatives.

According to one Syrian mother, “I swear I wasn’t able to sleep, I was afraid for the girls. I swear to God, I would not have let her get married this young if we were in Syria.”

Although the international community refuses to end the conflict in Syria, there is a solution to preventing the exploitation of the Syrian female population: more aid.

According to another Syrian mother, “We left Syria to escape death and we found something worse than death. If we had stayed in Syria to die it would have been more honorable. There death is fast, here it is slow.

Follow Jessica Tanner on Twitter
Twitter: @nahmias_report
Staff Writer: @JessTanner1991

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About Ayanna Nahmias

Ayanna Nahmias was interviewed on Radio Netherlands Worldwide program titled 'The State We’re In,' about her life in Africa and her determination to transcend her past. She started the Nahmias Cipher Report to provide information to readers about life in emerging economies, and to provide alternative insight into the challenges faced by women and children living in these countries. The blog features stories from around the world to inspire other people to persevere and triumph in the face of great adversity. She blogs about current events in emerging economies, international politics, human rights abuses, women’s rights and child advocacy.

View all posts by Ayanna Nahmias

7 Comments on “Loss of Innocence for Syria’s Female Refugees”

  1. mj Says:

    In any conflict situation, it is the women and young girls who bear the brunt of violence. The international community is as much to blame as everyone else,for letting it happen and looking away.

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Obama Funding of War in Syria Facilitates Refugee Camps Where Little Girls are Being Raped as Young as 6-Years-old | markingmyspot - 30/07/2013

    […] Loss of Innocence for Syria's Female Refugees (ayannanahmias.com) […]

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