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MUST SEE: In Order To Propel Men To Refuse War, African Women Held S*x Strike

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With men being the primary participants of war, the women were the individuals that carried the burden of the war’s impact.

In most African countries, political positions are held by men. But this does not mean women have not been actively involved in causing great changes in African Nations.

An example is that of the women in Liberia who decided that enough is enough and decided to hold a s*x strike in order to enforce a political change. Well, it was not just a s*x-strike, the women started what they referred to as a silent non-violent protest which also included the threat of going naked in public.

It all started in the late 1970s when a military coup headed by Master Sergeant Samuel Kanyon Doe seized power, making him Liberia’s first native leader and head of state.

Doe’s rule was not fair as it only favoured people from a particular tribe, Krahn. This, in turn, led to increasing signs of an impending war.

This division led to the start of a long, bloody civil war.

The war was hard on the women as the situation was so bad that they sometimes had to hide their husbands and sons from soldiers looking to recruit or kill them, walking miles to find food and water for their families.

They, however, kept life going so that there would be something left to build on when peace returned.

Then there was a military coup in 1989, and President Charles Taylor struggled to keep control over the country. But then, the issue of tribal identities during the previous reign still prevailed in Liberia.

With men being the primary participants of war, the women were the individuals that carried the burden of the war’s impact.

During the years of warfare, Liberian women “had to endure the pain of watching their young sons be forcibly recruited into the army”. A few days later these young men would come back into the same village, drugged up, and were made to execute their own family members. 

Women had to bear the pain of seeing their young daughters used as s*x slaves at night and as fighters during the day. They also had to sit by and watch their husbands and fathers, taken away. In most instances, these men were hacked to pieces.”

It got to a point when the women decided they could not take it anymore and they made a decision.

A group of women called Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace (WLMAP) took a stand and released a campaign that called for non-violence and peace.

Their leader, Leymah Gbowee, stated that they would “take the destiny of Liberia into their own hands,” declaring that “in the past they were silent, but after being killed, raped, dehumanized, and infected with diseases, war has taught them that the future lies in saying no to violence and yes to peace.”

 Leymah Gbowee

These women played a big role in bringing together President Charles Taylor and two rebel factions, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MDL) to peace talks in Accra, Ghana.

It has to be noted that none of the parties had planned on a ceasefire but through relentless campaigns and protests, the voices of thousands of women, brought together by the WLMAP, were heard.

WLMAP also encouraged women to withhold s*x from male partners in order to put pressure on the warring groups.

While talks were ongoing, it is reported that WLMAP women, all clad in white clothes, surrounded the venue. Anytime any of the parties in the talk threatened to leave, the women threatened to take off all their clothes to expose their nakedness.

This proved uncomfortable for the men in the meetings. Some of the women present were old enough to be their mothers and close enough to be their sisters.

The threat of nudity is credited with expediting the talks.

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Ngere Ikenna is a passionate learner and freelancer writer, blogger and a lover of good reads.
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