War on Women: Time for Action to End Sexual Violence in Conflict

Contributed by a member of the RISE Community • April 26th, 2019

Sexual violence in conflict is not a new phenomenon. The saying goes that “rape is as old as war itself” and women have had the battlefield played out on their bodies for centuries around the world. But the wars in Bosnia–Herzegovina and Rwanda in the 1990s were a turning point. These conflicts brought about the term “rape as a weapon of war” as rape was carried out systematically, and was strategically used as a war tactic. Horrendous accounts of atrocities were documented and reported, and survivors spoke out about their experiences of gang rape, rape camps, rape slavery and forced pregnancy. The accounts not only fueled global outrage and condemnation, but also spurred the international community to define the issue of sexual violence in conflict as a serious threat to peace and security.

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