On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, we bring you 12 resources on sexual and gender based violence (sgbv).
According to UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict, the vast majority of casualties in today’s wars are among civilians, mostly women and children. Women in particular can face devastating forms of sexual violence, which are sometimes deployed systematically to achieve military or political objectives.
Rape committed during war is often intended to terrorize the population, break up families, destroy communities, and, in some instances, change the ethnic make-up of the next generation. Sometimes it is also used to deliberately infect women with HIV or render women from the targeted community incapable of bearing children.
More needs to be done to prevent sexual violence during conflict write Elisabeth Jean Wood, a professor of political science at Yale and Dara Kay Cohen, an assistant professor of public policy at Harvard University.
“First, we have to better understand it. Although rape during war is an ancient crime, it’s only in the last decade that social scientists have begun to study the patterns in which soldiers and rebels rape. The findings may be surprising: It’s not more likely to occur in particular regions, countries with greater gender inequality or during ethnic conflict; men may be victims, and women can be perpetrators. But while rape is tragically common in war zones, it’s not an inevitable part of war.”
The Rome Statute—the ICC’s founding treaty—is one of the first international treaties to extensively address gender-based crimes as crimes against humanity, war crimes, and in some instances, genocide. It recognizes rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy, forced sterilizations, gender-based persecutions, trafficking of persons particularly women and children, and sexual violence as among the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has made the investigation and prosecution of these crime a key priority for the Court through her policy on sexual and gender-based crimes.
By ratifying the Rome Statute and implementing provisions domestically, states can guarantee the protection of women’s rights and justice for grave gender-based crimes nationally and internationally.
The Coalition for the ICC Gender Justice team has been working for many years to advance gender justice through the ICC system.
Coalition Steering Committee member Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice has been at the forefront of setting the agenda on the investigation and prosecution at the national level and through the International Criminal Court. Women’s Initiative’s Executive Director Brigid Inder is also special gender adviser to the ICC prosecutor.
According to Zeinab Hawa Bangura, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, the world had arrived at a “new juncture” in the fight against sexual violence in conflict, characterized by ongoing, shocking crimes, but also by greater opportunity to respond to the scourge in a resolute and integrated manner.
In the 15 years since resolution 1325 was passed, the UN has done far too little to safeguard women in war zones or give them a meaningful role in peacemaking writes Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.
“Men from homes where their father used violence are more than twice as likely to use violence against their own partners than men who did not witness such violence growing up.
Second, men who commit violence against women tend to buy into stereotypical notions of masculinity, including the idea that men should dominate women and have “rights” over women’s bodies. As feminist scholars and activists have long asserted, violence against women is the product of unequal relations of power. And, as our own work over the past three decades suggests, this violence also results from the ways we’ve raised boys to be men and the impossible demands of masculinity.”
A multimedia exhibition at the Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict summit this week showed the important work of grassroots women activists in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo in responding to sexual violence in conflict.
It was produced by the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict. The award-winning photographer Pete Muller and filmmakers travelled to DRC to capture the work of the activists in pictures and video. The exhibit will be available online in September.
After more than 50 years of conflict marked by widespread and systemic sexual violence, Colombia has established a national day to remember the appalling suffering experienced by so many women, whose plight has until now been largely ignored.
The first National Day for the Dignity of Women Victims of Sexual Violence caused by the Internal Armed Conflict takes place on Monday 25 May.
The establishment of this special day and the inclusion of survivors of sexual violence in the country’s peace talks in Havana aimed at ending the conflict demonstrate how public awareness of the issue is growing.
- Redress Needed for Children Born of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in Northern Uganda and Their Mothers
- Engaging Men
- Waking up to the scourge of war-time sexual violence
- Sexual Violence in Mali Casts Shadow Over Peace Efforts
- Mali’s Sexual Violence Victims left to Themselves
- CAR Struggling to Undo the Damage of Sexual Violence
- Sexualized Violence in Iraq: How to Understand and Fight It
- Sexual Violence as a War Strategy in Iraq
- Dispatches: A Victory for Colombia’s Sexual Violence Victims
- India, comic super heroine a survivor of rape