Day 350: Shadows of War

(CNN) -- One of the longest-lasting effects of conflict is one that is all too often hidden away, breaking down social fabric and affecting those it touches for the rest of their lives. Rape and sexual violence are easy to overlook -- private tragedies with public stigmas. According to a new report from Save the Children, children bear the brunt of this unseen crisis, enduring the unthinkable when they are most vulnerable.
And sexual violence against children is more common than we dare to think. More than half of the victims of sexual violence are children, according to our report. In places of active or past conflict, from Liberia to Colombia to Afghanistan, children -- both boys and girls -- have been afflicted by this horrendous crime. One study cited in the report shows that in post-conflict Liberia, a staggering 80% of victims of sexual violence were children, and the majority of those had been raped.

Where there are humans, there is war. Is this statement accurate? I suppose it is one of those topics that could be debated over for hours, days, weeks or more. One hopes that, regardless of one's opinion, it is at least agreed upon that war should not exist. If we all agree that war should not exist, then why does it?

Our nature has been relatively stable in one aspect across the ages: cruelty. Rape is something that has always been around. Maybe some cultures did not have it - I cannot say as I was not there. What I do know is that this culture that is spreading around the world - some call it westernization, others call it modernization - so whatever you want to call it, it brings with it an increased occurrence of cruelty and abuse. The stories on the news in this day and age are horrific - the incidences of unimaginable acts of cruelty are increasing in frequency and severity. Is it then accurate to call the expression of these acts of violence human nature? Is this cruelty a thing that is innate, or was it imprinted upon an innocent mind to warp and twist the thoughts within it?

Is war inevitable? Will we all die screaming? Will our leaders inevitably lead us all to early, shallow graves? Will there be nuclear war? Will North Korea bomb the shit out of everything? Will USA nuke North Korea? Why the hell do nuclear weapons even exist? Why don't we change how we live even after we have been shown and can see so clearly that we are poisoning the Earth? Do we acknowledge that simply be allowing wars to exist we are also allowing children to be raped? Is this truly how we have chosen to live our lives: believing and acting as if we are helpless to change anything within ourselves or within the world?

Wars do not simply happen, they are the products of active participation by a very large number of people. They continue to happen because we continue to participate in allowing them, whether actively or tacitly. There may be some who oppose it, but it is not enough for a small part of the population to wave placards around - the majority must participate in actively changing human nature, since it is our apparent human nature that got us in this mess in the first place. This is also the reason why no form of single cause activism will work - every part of this world that is ugly and cruel is connected to what we accept and allow as human nature.


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