Lauren Wolfe

Losing the Lonely War

Suicide is becoming a crisis among people affected by Syria's protracted civil war -- and no one is talking about it.

Her hands showed every tendon, and her arms were like matchsticks. With a grayish tint to her face, Alma Abdulrahman, 27, spoke from a hospital bed in Amman, Jordan, one year ago about the torture and rape she'd endured at what she said were the hands of the Syrian government. Paralyzed from her diaphragm down, she spoke in an exhausted voice over Skype to me in New York last June.

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Intimacy That Kills

A Pakistani woman brutally murdered by her own family is just one of countless women around the world abused -- or worse -- by so-called “loved ones.”

According to Pakistani police, this is what happened on May 27, the day a dark-eyed, pregnant woman named Farzana Parveen died: About two dozen men used sticks and bricks to beat Parveen, 25, to death just outside the High Court of the eastern city of Lahore. The attackers, who also shot her in the shin, included Parveen's brother and father, by their own admission. They were angry that she had married a man of her own choice instead of one picked by her male relatives. Her father admitted killing his daughter without regret: She "insulted all of our family by marrying a man without our consent," he told police.

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A Tidal Wave of Trauma

From PTSD to depression, the war in Syria has spawned a massive mental health crisis -- and there are neither the doctors nor the money to stem its crushing effects.

There are as many guises of trauma as there are Syrians who have experienced the war still ravaging their country. The dead-eyed mask is common, often in children. I saw it in a refugee house in Amman, Jordan, where, seated on scratchy nylon mats that said "UNHCR," seven or so boys and girls stared at me stonily. Their mother cried until her whole face and neck turned red as she told stories of massacres and family members who had disappeared. The father sat quietly in a nearby room, praying.

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The Lost Girls

Why women are the "spoils of war" in Nigeria and around the world -- and nobody cares.

Over the last week or so, multiple stories in the news have been asking why the media is ignoring the kidnapping of more than 200 girls (some reports say as many as 276) by Boko Haram, an extremist anti-Western group in Nigeria. Yet there have been literally hundreds of Facebook posts, thousands of tweets, and dozens of stories in the media about what is going on. It took a week or two -- longer than it should have, yes, considering the horror of what has been perpetrated -- but in the end, this case has gotten more attention than any single case of girls abducted in armed conflict in recent memory, possibly ever. People are paying attention.

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Abuse of Power

Sexualized violence against girls is going unchecked in schools around the world -- and the perpetrators are teachers. What can be done to stop them?

BUNIA, Democratic Republic of the Congo — A dust-diffused brightness illuminated female speakers dressed in patterns of orange and green, yellow and blue as they addressed a group of journalists and activists about the many challenges facing women in their country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These challenges include low literacy, a lack of representation in politics, and disenfranchisement from access to other sources of power, including money. Then, almost as an aside, a woman named Jacqueline Borve from a group called Programme Amkeni Wamama made a remark that stood out among the litany: The most prevalent form of violence against young women she sees in her home town of Walikale, in Congo's North Kivu province, is sexual harassment and assault in schools.

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