As the situation confronting kidnapped women in Nigeria continues to deteriorate, the need for international solidarity has never been greater. The 276 teenage women, who were kidnapped at gunpoint by Islamist group Boko Haram, have been held captive for more than a month. What is worse, there have been reports of mass forced "marriages" to rebel militants and some women may have literally been sold into slavery across the Nigerian border in neighboring countries. Thus far, rescue efforts have been unsuccessful or hampered because the Abuja government is reportedly compromised and riddled with Boko Haram informants at the top. Distraught and desperate, parents have lost hope in the authorities and are launching their own rescue operations.
Like other Muslim fundamentalist groups which have sought to rein in girls' education across the globe, Boko Haram is determined to halt the progress of modern women. The group believes the Abuja government has become corrupted by the west and seeks a return to the country's pre-colonial past characterized by Muslim rule. Merciless and brutal, Boko Haram has conducted a scorched earth policy to carry out its goals, and has already killed about 5,000 Nigerian men, women and children. Women Living under Muslim Laws, an international network which seeks to challenge Islamic fundamentalism and encourage solidarity amongst progressive-minded women, says "the mass murder, abduction of school children and sexual violence against girls including rape and sexual slavery are heinous crimes under international law."