Superstar actress Angelina Jolie spoke Wednesday at the largest global summit focused on ending wartime rape and sexual assault.
“It is a myth that rape is an inevitable part of conflict. There’s nothing inevitable about it. It is a weapon of war aimed at civilians. It has nothing to do with sex, everything to do with power,” Jolie said at the London event.
United Kingdom Foreign Secretary William Hague is hosting the event alongside Jolie which has four main goals:
agree on an international protocol for logging and investigation sexual violence in combat zones, train soldiers and peacekeepers on practices to protest women, increase support for victims and human rights activists and work on a drastic shift in attitude towards the problem.
“We need to shatter that impunity and make justice the norm, not the exception, for these crimes,” Jolie said. “We must send a message around the world that there is no disgrace in being a survivor of sexual violence — that the shame is on the aggressor.”
Representatives and government officials from 140 countries are on hand for the event. Secretary of State John Kerry offered support for the summit saying, “We will pool our expertise, diplomatic skills and resources toward the common goal of relegating sexual violence to the annals of history where it belongs.”
Pope Francis, added his voice to those calling for change. “Let us pray for all victims of sexual violence in conflict, and those working to end this crime,” he tweeted Tuesday, using the hashtag #TimeToAct.
According to UNICEF, about 40% of Congolese women are believed to have been subjected to some form of sexual violence at some point in their lives, while in the most recent conflict in South Sudan, rape has been used by both sides of the conflict during fighting.
During the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 women survived rape, UNICEF says, while an estimated 20,000 to 50,000 women were raped during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990s.
In an online post, the agency recounts the “sadly typical” story of a woman in Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo whose daughter, born from rape, was called a witch and herself raped, at age 6, by her 14-year-old cousin.
About the Author
Brandon Jones - Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professional in 2008 on sites like Examiner and blogs: Desk of Brian, Crazed Fanboy.
Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) will be a licensed Assembly of God Pastor by the Spring of 2017.
"Why do we do this?" I was asked and the answer is simple. "I just want the truth. I want a source of information that tells me what's going and clearly attempts to separate opinion from fact. Set aside left and right, old and young, just point to the world and say, 'Look!'"
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