On Saturday, The Ottawa Citizen launched media coverage of the Nobel Women Initiative’s conference, Women Forging a New Security: Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict.
The prominent four-page spread was carried throughout various national newspapers and outlined the need for action to combat sexual violence in conflict, with the hope the Canada would take the lead.
Laureate Wangari Maathai told the Ottawa Citizen that Kenya was thrown into turmoil after the most recent elections in 2007, with sexual violence widely used against women.
“It was horrific, especially in a country where you also have HIV-AIDS,” Maathai recalls. To this day, she adds, many of the survivors, thousands of them still in relief camps, remain in a state of shock: “Sometimes you meet people you know, and it’s like they have never seen you before. … They are still in another world. You can see their pain.”
With their accompanying facts, The Ottawa Citizen clearly testified to the urgent need for effective change:
UN-documented number of rapes in Democratic Republic of Congo since 1996: 200,000
Number of rapes estimated in a public-health study for 2006-7: 400,000
Number per day: 1,152
Number per hour: 48
Estimated number of rapes in Rwandan genocide: 250,000-500,000
Number of people charged by International Criminal Tribunal for sex crimes in Rwandan genocide as of 2010: 35
Number of total sexual-violence charges laid by the International Criminal Court: 12
Number of people convicted by ICC: 0
Read entire coverage of The Ottawa Citizen’s Montebello conference here.