From the war in Ukraine to conflicts in other parts of the world, sexual violence continues to be a weapon of abuse. The United Nations continue to champion the importance of ending this horrible practice. You'll find the 2022 information about their important work to include this year's International Day for the Elimination for Sexual Violence in Conflict on 19 June at https://www.un.org/en/observances/end-sexual-violence-in-conflict-day.
Sexual violence has been a reality in nation-to-nation and even within nation conflicts since the beginning of human history. According to historian *Kelly Dawn Askin, rape and other acts of sexual violence were considered a normal part of war between City States in ancient Greece.
Unfortunately, the passage of thousands of years has done little to make us wiser. It was an intentional weapon of terror in the Rwanda genocide tragedy and it remains a common practice in conflicts around the world.
The United Nations Concern and Action
The United Nations (U.N.) lists eight acts that are conflict-related sexual violence. Those are:
In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 19th would be designated as the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict. The original resolution condemning sexual violence as a weapon of war was passed by the U.N. General Assembly on June 19, 2008.
How to Bring Attention to This Ongoing Practice
There is little media coverage given to this problem. The reasons are many, but three reasons are the sheer global scope of the problem, lack of survivors coming forward, and the inability to get accurate numbers to quantify the problem.
One simple action you can take to help bring awareness is to post about the issue in June, particularly June 19th, on social media.
To Learn More
Each year, the U.N. releases a report summarizing where we are internationally with the use of sexual violence as a weapon. The “Conflict Related Sexual Violence - Report of the United Nations Secretary General is available at https://www.un.org/sexualviolenceinconflict/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/report/conflict-related-sexual-violence-report-of-the-united-nations-secretary-general/2019-SG-Report.pdf
The most recent U.N. report published in March 2021 is available at https://undocs.org/S/2021/312.
*Reference: Kelly Dawn Askin, "War Against Women"; https://books.google.com/books?id=ThfzGvSvQ2UC
Stephen Carter is a FREA volunteer and CEO of Stress Solutions, LLC, a company dedicated to helping people enhance physical and emotional wellbeing through stress mastery using mind-body methods. He hosts the, "Easy Stress Cures / Mind Over Stress", and "EFT Tapping Junction" podcasts. Steve can be reached at CarterMethod@gmail.com.