Posted by: Through the Eyes of Women | December 22, 2014

December 22, 2014 Host Corinne Frugoni Interviews Chandra Kellison About Her Experience Working With Young Girls Escaping the ISIS War

1410783530980.cachedChandra Kellison lives in Brooklyn, New York, works in finance but spent her vacation last summer leading a music workshop in a refugee camp for Syrians and Palestinians in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. What she found is that young girls and women who have escaped the horrors of the ISIS attacks in Syria face the triple jeopardy of war, domestic violence and attacks from neighboring men in the refugee camps.

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Chandra writes “According to the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), sexual assault and intimate partner violence are hard to quantify because, mostly, it is not being reported. In rural areas of Lebanon a victim’s family may limit women’s ability to leave the house, health services are too far away and a woman who is raped may be perceived as bringing dishonor to the community. Child marriage has made a strong comeback and girls as young as 15 are increasingly strong-armed into spring-winter unions by family members seeking “protection” in exchange for their girls. Statistics are not collected in Lebanon, but in Jordan, which also hosts a large Syrian refugee population, the UNHCR reports one in four refugee girls under 18 are married to men 10 or more years older. Families struggling to get by find it easier to marry off their teenage girls than to feed, shelter, and educate them.”

She also writes “Not even the most fertile imagination could have conjured a better monster-in-the-dark than IS. The Brothers Grimm could not compete with stories spreading from city to city of savages that force children to use severed heads as soccer balls. By comparison, the terror caused by IS had reduced the perceived danger of a few opportunists who punch down the dignity and emotional integrity of refugee women and girls through offers that cannot be refused, because the needs of their families are too dire.”

One of the questions she raises is why there is not more media coverage of the plight of these girls and women.

What is Chandra planning for next summer?  Another trip to a refugee camp to contribute her skills and publicize her observations.

To listen to and/or download Corinne’s conversation with Chandra Kellison click the following link:      12-22-2014 Corinne_Chandra Kellison mp3    

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