Thursday June 13th, 2024
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Jolie: End Sexual Violence

The world is a-buzz about the moving speech Oscar-winning Angelina Jolie gave at the first ever End Sexual Violence in Conflict summit. Read it in full here.

Staff Writer

Jolie: End Sexual Violence

Ever the humanitarian, Angelina Jolie led the proceedings in London yesterday, giving a moving speech against sexual violence. Given today's climate in Egypt, we can all learn a lot. Check out the speech in full below:

“It is a myth that rape is an inevitable part of conflict. There is 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. 

It is done to torture and to humiliate innocent people, and often very young children.

I have met survivors from Afghanistan to Somalia and they are just like us, with one crucial difference. 

We live in safe countries with doctors we can go to when we’re hurt, police we can turn to when we’re wronged, and institutions that protect us.

They live in refugee camps or bombed out streets in areas where there is no law, no protection, and not even the hope of justice. 

They struggle to keep their children safe and if they admit to being raped, they are likely to face more violence and social rejection.

Other survivors live in countries where war is over, but the peace has brought no justice. And as an international community, we are responsible for that. 

We need to shatter that culture of impunity and make justice the norm, not the exception, for these crimes.

We need political will replicated across the world and we need to treat this subject as a priority. 

We need to see real commitment to go after the worst perpetrators, to fund proper protection for vulnerable people and to step in and help the worst affected countries.

We need all armies, peacekeeping troops and police forces to have the prevention of sexual violence in conflict as part of their training.

More than 100 countries will be represented at the summit, and we will be asking them to take these measures. But we really do need your help.

This whole subject has been taboo for far too long. 

War zone rape is a crime that thrives on silence and denial. 

This stigma harms survivors and it causes feeling of shame and worthlessness. 

It feeds ignorance, such as the notion that rape has anything to do with normal sexual impulses. But most of all, it allows the rapist to get away with it.

They feel above the law because the law rarely touches them and society tolerates them.

As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, ”The destiny of human rights is in the hands of all of our citizens and all our communities.” 

And this evil will continue to ruin the lives of millions of people unless we make this summit a turning point - and we can.

We must send a message across the world that there is no disgrace in being a survivor of sexual violence; that the shame is on the aggressor.

We must work together in new and unprecedented ways across borders and religions, bringing governments and people together and tackling the problem from every possible angle. 

And by doing this we can end the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war once and for all. We really can do it.

So, thank you so much for joining us today, for joining us in this fight, and I wish us all a very productive summit.”