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When a student asked what her husband, Bill, thought about Chinese investment in the Congo yesterday, Hillary Clinton replied with a feisty “wait, you want me to tell you what my husband thinks, my husband is not the secretary of state, I am…”
Apparently, the student in the audience had actually asked about President Barack Obama’s thoughts on financial contracts between China and Congo. The translator then mistakenly asked about Bill Clinton’s stance on the matter, rather than the Presidents’ – leading to Hillary’s outburst.
And with Bill’s recent successful diplomatic mission last week to retrieve two American journalists from a North Korean prison, and President Obama firmly in the limelight, Mrs Clinton seems to be struggling to make the kind of impact she so desires.
All of this has unleashed endless comment from wide-ranging sympathy, to deep criticism of Hillary’s diplomatic skills. My concern is a broader one. In reality, Hillary is throwing the spotlight on a continent synonymous with abuse of women and girls, and a fundamental lack of respect for life itself.
According to the UN, there have been 3,500 reported cases of rape so far this year in the Congo alone. And the rest of Africa? A recent report published by Interpol says South Africa has the highest incidence of rape among its member states. Over 54,000 rapes were committed in 2006, according to police statistics – and what about those that go unreported?
Having spent the morning researching rape statistics across countries and continents, it’s all too depressing. We, as humanity itself have a long way to go.
In response to the recent killings in a Pennsylvania gym this month where George Sodini killed three women, wounded nine others and then killed himself, Bob Herbert of the NY Times writes “we have become so accustomed to living in a society saturated with misogyny that the barbaric treatment of women and girls has come to be more or less expected. We profess to being shocked at one or another of these outlandish crimes, but the shock wears off quickly in an environment in which the rape, murder and humiliation of females is not only a staple of the news, but an important cornerstone of the nation’s entertainment.”