The Missing Peace Symposium 2013 Video



it's without a doubt now that sexual violence is part of genocide crimes against humanity and war crimes missing piece symposium is about sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict settings and that is really about peace and security why do we care about sexual violence in conflict there's so many different angles to it and so we were hoping to bring together folks from different walks of life different disciplinary practice who had different research methodologies oven roles in response that was really the challenge we had as organizers to bring over 250 people together from various conflicts with various stakeholders and policymakers practitioners academics and find a way that we could communicate with each other that was respectful that allowed debate controversy and allowed us to listen to one another sexual violence in war goes to the core of people's identities the right to kill someone means you're breaking your most basic social norms and there's a risk that while doing that you also transgress into sexual violence or other forms of violence against civilians in war the condition of women tells us ultimately about the condition of a society there's a strong culture of silence and denial I don't know if we need to define sexual gender-based violence I think those who hire our survivors and have been subjected to it define it we have to listen to the survivors to tell us what sexual violence is for them each country is different is unique but the pain that this women feel and go through is the same it's as dehumanizing it has humiliated them degraded them so much that they lose confidence in themselves conflict has many faces we wanted people to start thinking about the continuum of violence that it's not just something that happens to the other over there one of the biggest challenges of thinking about you know kind of what the general public thinks about in terms of sexual violence and conflict is women as victims of rape and certainly that happens far too often that's also partly a tactic of war against men to to have to see or to know that your partner was a victim of that currently is partly an attack on men themselves and then it also happened specifically to men the numbers are much much greater than even I had expected people who say this is not an issue it's not happening if it were happening you know why are the figures so low people find it very hard to disclose because the wrong questions are being asked there's no guarantee that if you tell your story it will be listened to the core task of every military organization is to fight and win the nation's Wars there's an idea that every military organization also needs a certain military culture warrior culture that makes them effective at assume that performing that core task there is a sense that when one is perpetrating a rape you would kind of express being a real fighter a real rebel we have child soldiers who were abducted by force and himself experienced a lot of sexual violence but then of course we also have other men who voluntarily joined the amp group and they have high level of pettite of aggression for example the groups that recruit by abduction I think are more likely to be groups that don't invest in political education that don't invest in training these groups consist of people who are strangers to each other often who have no reason to trust each other who have been abused in the case of men often in the case of women have been raped even as part of their abduction process and so again committing rape but especially gang rape I think can increase social bonds between fighters and help make the armed group more coherent this what we've seen we've seen people who were previously victimized by sexual violence becoming aggressors and participating in terrorist actions because they have nowhere else to go sexual and gender-based fires also has a huge economic cost survivors often cannot pick up there live again they can't function normally in society looking at health issues but also looking at institutions the judicial system and the political participation and engagement of men's advice people don't talk about it people are not in a hurry even when it is introduced on the peace table and yet when you leave it and you say we'll discuss it when we've strike a deal or made an agreement then it will be completely forgotten if you are not able to sleep in your house without fear and then there is no peace but the uniqueness of sexual violence at least when it's a male perpetrator and and a female victim is that it produces children and we know very very little about these children and we know very very little about the how they're taken care of in their families we have to break the silence if we want to break later on the cycle of violence what we're saying is if you create the right space people really do want to talk and they want to narrate what happened to them you can talk about it that you can talk to ex-combatants in detail about what they did it has to be men standing up and saying we're not like that we don't want to be perceived that way and we're with you in changing the conversation I think the most important challenges that we face is to be able to ensure that not government's take national ownership responsibility for this crime there needs to be a continuous international pressure reminding the leaders the various warring factions that they will be held accountable irrespective of who you are who you are as long as you commit this crime you will be held accountable we find voices of peace in the same very communities where the conflict has happened creating ways to sort of turn up their voices helping them design youth-led campaigns creating again safe spaces whether that's in schools or community groups where they can talk about what they saw and how they want to construct different futures both in research and design programs based on that is to understand men's experiences in in terms of sexual violence I think one of the issues we need to look into more is to try to avoid perpetrators of sexual and gender-based finds reintegrated back into positions where they're supposed to protect a population one of the things that's incredibly remarkable that we've often seen in our work is that women simply want the opportunity on a foundation of peace to rebuild their lives in a vision that they think reflects what they would want for themselves and for their families it is difficult for a woman to stay in inside shelter for many years so this is what we are trying to make a mediation between dehl and family we need to have some mechanism either to adjust the way the society looks at the rape victim but also to have different kinds of opportunities for women who are raped when individuals talk about their experiences of having been violated sexually or physically or psychologically and they confront they are violators the person feels free they feel peace of mind other things that you can do is to make sure that you have a very clear chain of command in war so that you can find the guilty ones once the crimes are being committed that you can also prosecute the entire chain of command if there are multi level transgressions we are working on different activities to help women and gender-based violence one of them on legal side to raise awareness about women right and also to assist them with legal consultation and legal representation and also we are working with religious leaders on ending or reducing violence against women I interviewed a woman in Bosnia many years ago who had experienced rape and she told me that she had been approached by someone who had told her that what you experienced is not a private experience it's an international crime shift the perspective away from you know stigmatizing the woman who is raped to actually focusing on the perpetrator taking people to put alone is insufficient the a perpetrator maker convicted and be sentenced in to jail but the victor has to live on where do we need to go you need to keep pursuing the development of the law the inclusion of the international community in all aspects and it's really not enough to say it's terrible that's important that recognition is clearly important but it's important to recognize that we all have a role in this and that what happens in other places also does affect us if you sit with women in so many places who are afflicted they are truly victimized by their circumstances but as one said to me not too long ago in Afghanistan stop looking at us as victims and look at us as the leaders that we are they are the agents of change and we need to support them in every way that we can but to create the kind of world that we all want to see you

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