What country is like handmaid’s Tale?

Answered by Cody Janus

I have to tell you, when it comes to countries that resemble the dystopian world of The Handmaid’s Tale, Somalia is unfortunately one of the closest matches. The conditions there are not just similar, but arguably even worse than depicted in the novel and TV series. As someone who has personal experience and knowledge about the situation in Somalia, I can attest to the fact that it is a country where women’s rights are severely restricted and where oppressive practices, such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), are still prevalent.

Let’s start with FGM, also known as female circumcision. This barbaric practice involves the partial or complete removal of external female genitalia, and it is still widely practiced in Somalia. It is considered a cultural tradition and is deeply rooted in societal norms. Shockingly, many cases of FGM in Somalia go unreported, making it difficult to fully grasp the extent of the problem. The physical and psychological consequences of FGM on women and girls are devastating, leading to lifelong health complications and trauma.

In addition to FGM, women in Somalia face a multitude of other challenges. They are often subjected to forced marriages, where they have no say in choosing their partners. Child marriages are also prevalent, with girls as young as 9 or 10 being married off to much older men. This deprives them of their childhood, education, and basic human rights.

The treatment of women in Somalia extends beyond just these issues. Women are marginalized in almost all facets of society, including politics, education, and employment. They are often denied access to education, limiting their opportunities for personal and professional growth. In many parts of the country, women are expected to adhere to strict dress codes and behavioral norms, further restricting their freedom and autonomy.

The situation for women in Somalia is further compounded by the ongoing conflict and instability in the country. Decades of civil war, terrorism, and political instability have exacerbated the already dire conditions for women. They are disproportionately affected by violence, displacement, and poverty. Sexual violence, including rape, is unfortunately a common occurrence, with little to no recourse for justice.

To say that Somalia resembles The Handmaid’s Tale is not an exaggeration. The oppressive regime depicted in the novel and TV series may be fictional, but the reality for many women in Somalia is equally oppressive, if not worse. The fundamental rights and freedoms that we often take for granted are denied to women in Somalia on a daily basis.

It is crucial that we raise awareness about the plight of women in Somalia and work towards creating change. International organizations, local activists, and individuals must unite to support initiatives that promote gender equality, education, and women’s empowerment. Only by challenging and dismantling the existing patriarchal structures can we hope to improve the lives of women in Somalia and prevent the continuation of this real-life Handmaid’s Tale.