News Feed

October 22, 2016 - Water hope Relief could soon be on the way for ... +++ October 22, 2016 - Priest supports ban on religious teaching in schools An outspoken Anglican cleric is sup ... +++ October 22, 2016 - Child’s mental plight Children as young as ten years old ... +++ October 22, 2016 - Bitter infighting mars BLP nominations A political firestorm appears to be ... +++ October 22, 2016 - ‘Illegal’ levy Government’s newly-introduced two ... +++ October 22, 2016 - Too much pressure on A&E, warns official The Accident & Emergency Depart ... +++

Wiping out rape

by William Hague

UK Foreign Secretary

Too often, the world seeks to end a conflict and rebuild war-torn societies without addressing the very reasons that make reconciliation so difficult and which contribute to renewed violence.

Wartime rape and sexual violence is one of those reasons.

Two weeks ago I visited the Democratic Republic of Congo and was handed a photograph of a five year old girl who had been raped. As I moved from refugee camps, to hospitals, and meetings with people fighting for justice, I heard more and more appalling stories of lives destroyed, women ostracised from their families, families broken and victims given life threatening illnesses after being attacked when foraging for firewood. And all this while the perpetrators continue their ‘normal lives’ under the cover of shameful impunity.

In many of the major conflicts of the past twenty years, from Bosnia to Rwanda and from Libya to Sierra Leone, rape has been used as a deliberate weapon to scar political opponents or entire ethnic or religious groups. The scars inflicted do not easily heal, and never disappear. Instead they often destroy families and corrode communities.

Sadly the same story is being repeated again in Syria today, where there are horrific reports of civilians being raped and tortured, and violations being committed with the deliberate intention of terrorising political opponents.

Responding to this challenge is our responsibility as political leaders of democratic states that believe in human dignity. We have to try and stop this abhorrent crime that has affected so many and work to eradicate the use of rape as a weapon of war.

This is not an easy task and there are many obstacles.

First, there is the fear and shame of the victims themselves. Understandably, often they are reluctant to come forward because of the stigma attached to being raped. This reluctance is then made worse by the lack of sensitive physical and psychological support available to victims.

Second, there is the difficulty of gathering evidence that can be used in court cases, which means that few successful prosecutions are ever mounted. Since 1996 as many as 500,000 women

*Continued on next page

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *