Violence against women is an intrinsic aspect of the culture of war. As stated by Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, women are not just victims of war – they must play an essential part in building peace. Here are a few excerpts from an article she published in the New York Times and which is now available on the website of The Elders.
“In war zones, rape is a weapon. We cannot claim to be serious about stopping war crimes if we do nothing to prevent and punish these heinous acts – and if women are not part of the solution every step of the way. . . . women – and men, too – are at risk of sexual abuse wherever gunfire rattles and militias roam. Like other forms of violence, sexual violence shatters people, families, and livelihoods. It leaves behind a legacy of trauma, making it more likely that the next generation will continue fighting, killing, and allow sexual violence to fester.
A history of modern warfare reveals sexual abuse at almost every turn: according to the United Nations, up to 250,000 Rwandan women were sexually assaulted in three months of genocide in 1994. In Yugoslavia, 60,000 women were abused between 1992 and 1995. Sierra Leone and Liberia jointly witnessed up to a hundred thousand cases over the course of a decade in the 1990s. . . .
Mindsets are evolving. The United Nations Security Council has passed several resolutions recognising the need to include women in peace processes. We need to push the agenda further at every opportunity. . .
The greater aspiration is that societies in conflict will know that war crimes will not go unpunished and that transitional justice can be made available to deal with these abuses swiftly. The stigma will shift from the victims to the criminals. If rape is no longer deemed a warrior’s accepted privilege, we will be one step closer to peace.”
CPNN has carried many articles on progress being made to stop violence against women, especially related to the culture of war. Articles since 2015 are listed below.
For discussion and articles prior to 2015, click here