Against Sexual Violence In Conflicts
Aggiornamento: 20 lug 2022
The 19th of June is the "International Day to End Sexual Violence in Conflicts", a tactic of war affecting women, girls, boys and men and reveiling the patriarchal connection between the exercise of power and sexual violence.
The following article is a translation of an article published in Italian by Simona Silvestro in COPPEM website. To see the original, please, click here.
Considering women "spoils of war" is as old as conflicts between nations. Consequence of a misogynistic culture and a male-dominated conception of the exercise of power, which does not concern only the individuals who exercise it, but also involves entire groups and part of the armies of the "aggressor or victorious" countries. The point, however, is not how ancient the use of rape as a weapon of war is, but how long it took for there to be a flood of collective conscience that would produce the necessary acts to condemn, oppose and punish it.
In fact, only in 2000, with resolution 1325 and, subsequently, in 2008 with the resolution 1820, the UN did recognise the use of sexual violence as a tactic of war and an obstacle to the reconstruction of peace. And we have to wait until June 19, 2015 the international recognition through the establishment of the "International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflicts".
Considering women "spoils of war" is as old as conflicts between nations. Consequence of a misogynistic culture and a male-dominated conception of the exercise of power.
Yet the absurd war in the former Yugoslavia had already shown since the early 1990s how rape was used as a tactic of war.
Guilty delay, but which is not surprising, if only in 1996 in Italy, violence against women - which does not have the implications of a war crime - was included in the Criminal Code among the "Crimes against a person."
If today, 19 June 2022, we can celebrate this day, reflecting on the use of sexual violence in conflicts, we owe it to the UN Resolution 2467 of 23 April 2019.
This Resolution represents an important step forward for the identification of effective measures to curb the spread of the use of sexual violence as an instrument of war, but also to intervene so that impunity for this atrocious crime, which affects women and girls, but also boys and girls, does not continue to be the norm anymore.
If today we can celebrate this day, reflecting on the use of sexual violence in conflicts, we owe it to the UN Resolution 2467 of 23 April 2019.
The challenge today is the ability to identify tools for material, psychological and health assistance to women victims of violence, in the phase of conflict and post-conflict.
Just as it is urgent to adequately train the "Peacekeepers", so that their role is truly effective and useful in safeguarding the victims.
As an international organization working for the overcoming of all discrimination and oppression, for peace and cooperation between peoples, our thought goes today first of all to Ukrainian women who experience the atrocities of war, to the women of Yemen, Ethiopia, Sudan, to women incarcerated in camps in Libya, to Afghan women who resist and to all women forced to suffer on their own bodies and beyond, the horror of violence.