Sexual violence against women and children continues to be one of the most widespread human rights violations, affecting an unknown number of innocent people in 21 different countries – from Eastern Europe to South America to Africa. During times of war and conflict, sexual violence is used as a weapon – to terrorize and humiliate women and girls. Manohla Dargis characterized it powerfully in the NY Times, “…war is very much about the violent domination of women and not just about nation-states, ethnic conflicts, historical grudges and men killing men.”
And survivors of rape are often forced to suffer further victimization when rejected by their family and community.
Last week, government officials, activists, and international aid workers from all over the globe convened in London to discuss one topic: how to solve the atrocious use of sexual violence as a tactic of war.
The Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict was co-hosted by UN Special Envoy Angelina Jolie and British Foreign Secretary William Hague. Jolie sat down with Ronan on Friday to discuss the summit and her experience working with victims. Jolie’s interview, touched not only on the topic of sexual assault in war-torn countries, but also included a discussion about what can, and should, be done to change the conversation and bring an end to sexual violence in conflict zones.
In an effort to do something to help stop the use of rape as a weapon of war, to bring justice to thousands of victims and to prevent future victims, Team Ronan and UN Action are asking for YOU to Get Cross!
Help spread the crossed arm symbol – it takes less than five minutes:
- Go to stoprapenow.org
- Add your name, email, and upload a photo of yourself with arms crossed.
- Share your photo on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. using the hashtag #TimetoAct
The important thing is to spread the word and explain what the crossed-arm gesture means to all your loved ones, friends, classmates and colleagues.
Help them understand why this issue is important to you.
P.S. Want to know more about the issue of sexual violence in conflict? Here are some common misconceptions about wartime sexual violence.
United States Institute of Peace Special Report 2013, “Wartime Sexual Violence Misconceptions, Implications, and Ways Forward”, usip.org
UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict, stoprapenow.org
UN News Center, "UN Urges Greater Action to Combat Sexual Violence in 21 Conflict Countries", un.org/news