“It is not enough to talk about sexual violence in conflict. Sexual crimes against women, girls, and sometimes men, are a continual violence happening in every country, every single day,” says American Nobel laureate Jody Williams.
Can writers transcend the bigotry of their time? Often prominent white journalists in Britain struggle. Richard Wright recognised his own intolerance back in 1945, despite himself being a “half-starved, ignorant, victim of racial prejudice”. He realised the anti-semitic songs he sang were wrong. If he could do it then, why can’t we do it now?
A few miles outside the bustling city of Kuala Lumpur, tucked away in a quiet suburb, sits a grand detached house cloaked in shrubs and plants. The house is out of place on the quiet residential street, its prettiness framed by grim iron gates and CCTV cameras. But the ramped up security is a necessary precaution against regular death threats for the Muslim activists using the house as an office. Behind their iron-gated office, Sisters in Islam (SiS) work to promote equal rights for women based on Islam’s fundamental principles of equality, justice and freedom. While in Europe we obsess…