"The time for the world to act is NOW against this deadly plague, which began against women, but has now metastasized to the minds of our sons." —BlueSky, World Pulse Correspondent (DRC)
Nobel women laureates, international advocacy organizations, and grassroots women’s groups working in conflict areas are coming together this week to launch the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict. As an advisory committee member, World Pulse joins the Nobel Women's Initiative and hundreds of organizations and individuals worldwide, in demanding urgent and bold political leadership to prevent rape in conflict, to protect civilians and rape survivors, and call for justice—including effective prosecution of those responsible.
“I witnessed the power of women coming together and demanding a stop to violence in Liberia. Now when we all come together—men and women side-by-side all around the world, and say no to rape, no to gender in-equality—I believe that we will be able to shake the world into hearing what we have to say.” —Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Peace Laureate (Liberia)
Sunday, May 6 marked the campaign launch and kicked off a Week of Action with events around the world and online to mobilize support for the campaign and to bring awareness to decision makers, media, and the general public.
The campaign has identified four focus countries where immediate, coordinated action is needed and where united efforts can make the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Colombia, and Burma. World Pulse correspondents will be covering launch events this week in Bukavu, DRC and Nairobi, Kenya.
Based on increased research, reports, and data demonstrating the significance of rape in conflict zones, we now know that rape is not a by-product of war but a strategic weapon to break women, their families, and communities.
Within the entire country of the Democratic Republic of Congo, more than 400,000 women were raped between 2006-2007. The high number demonstrates how gender violence has moved beyond regions where military operations take place and violence is a factor in daily life, with 48 women raped every hour. On the opposite side of the world in Colombia, the most recent survey on gender violence found that in the 407 municipalities facing active insurgencies, almost 500,000 women reported being raped between 2001-2009—six women raped every hour.
These shocking statistics only tell part of the story and are often inaccurately low based on the extreme stigma attached to survivors and the failure of reporting mechanisms.
In the World Pulse community, women confirm that gender-based violence is the priority issue for women around the globe. They report on the real consequences of violence, both personal and observed, along with their solutions for protecting and valuing girls in every society—both within and outside of conflict zones. They remind us that the situation in Congo, Colombia, Kenya, and Burma is dire—and not isolated.
"There’s a psychological indoctrination taking place, which perhaps gets its footing from the years and years of conflict wars. But continuing poverty, injustice, and lack of accountability have given rise to a cultic mentality that women only exist for the sport and service of men. Things have devolved to the extent that there’s now no conscience against any form of violation, including torture, mutilation, or even murder." —BlueSky, World Pulse Correspondent (DRC)
"Somali women suffered our share of rape during and after the civil war. Today we suffer as refugees in foreign camps. Rape is a taboo topic, a four-letter word. And for the women who have to bear its ugly pain, it is a lifetime sentence handed down repeatedly by neighbors, friends, and compatriots." —Ruun Abdi, World Pulse Correspondent (Somalia)
"There is hope for Afghan women, but we will need help from other women around the world. We also need to hold on to our identity. We want the world to hear us that we are not ashamed to be Afghan women." —Parwana Fayyaz, World Pulse Correspondent (Afghanistan)
Stand with us, join the campaign to Stop Rape in Conflict, and pledge your support!