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Libyan Government Plans To Offer Compensation To All Women Raped In 2011 Conflict

Though official numbers are not known and discussion of rape is taboo, Libya's government plans to offer unspecified compensation to all women raped in the conflict.

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Libya plans to offer compensation to women raped during the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that removed Muammar Gaddafi from power. Hundreds of women may have been raped during the conflict, but there are no exact numbers from the eight-month conflict.

Esam Omran Al-Fetori / Reuters

Rape victims are often ostracized by communities and discussion of rape is taboo, so it's unlikely that many victims will come forward.

Justice Minister Salah al-Marghani said that a law had been issued that would recognize all women raped during the conflict as war victims, making them equal with wounded veterans.

Ismail Zitouny / Reuters

Marghani told reporters: "This group (of women) is weak and needs our care. It (the law) will give them many rights...and cover also compensation." He did not say what compensation the women would get or what other war victims are entitled to.

Evidence of systematic rape is scarce, but it's been documented that rape was used as a weapon to assault families' and communities' honor and to gain information.

Esam Omran Al-Fetori / Reuters

An informant for Physicians for Human rights stated: "If Gaddafi destroys a building, it can be rebuilt. But when Gaddafi rapes a woman, the whole community is destroyed forever. He knows this, and so rape is his best weapon … I’d prefer to die if that happened to my wife.”

Rape being used as a weapon in the Libyan conflict was first brought to international attention with the case of Iman al-Obeidi when she attempted to tell journalists about the gang-rape she suffered at the hands of Gaddafi’s soldiers.

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