The International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict highlights the need to prevent the use of sexual violence during conflict. Sexual violence does not need to be an inevitable outcome of war — war can exist without the use of sexual violence. States have a key role in preventing rebel and militia groups’ use of sexual violence through implementing proper structures and legislative reform.
Prevention is underscored by the act of monitoring and reporting cases of sexual violence in conflict. Collected data permits a better understanding of why militia and rebel groups choose to use rape as a war tactic — and its consequences. This information allows states to prepare proper strategies to prevent sexual violence in insecure contexts where gender violence could be anticipated. Current research has prompted the drafting of local and international legislation. However, lack of political will and resources continue to challenge the implementation of these strategies for many states.
In recent months, the international community has made notable commitments to prevent sexual violence in conflict. During the 22nd African Union Summit in January 2014 the African Union and the United Nations made a landmark agreement to prevent and respond to conflict-related sexual violence. A few weeks later, Secretary of State John Kerry and United Kingdom Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs William Hague hosted a discussion on ending and preventing sexual violence in conflict. This meeting coupled with the African Union Summit agreement contribute to the growing momentum behind engaging states to effectively prevent rape as a weapon of war. When concrete actions follow these recent commitments, preventing rape in conflict will become a reality.
The Campaign continues to amplify members’ voices urging for increased legislation to prevent sexual violence in conflict. Alongside the Campaign, members will travel to the 58th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women to discuss strategies to prevent the use of rape in war.