War against sexual violence
By Johanna Ekladous| Published March 25, 2017
On Thursday, March 23, the Holocaust Resource Center held a free public meeting with the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General, Zainab Hawa Bangura in which she spoke about the worldwide sexual war crimes.
Bangura has worked in all five continents and covers 19 countries around the world with conflicts and she states that in all of the continents there is sexual violence against women. She stated that it is the goal of the United Nations to ensure that the leaders in these countries are reminded and understand that they have a moral obligation to protect women and ensure that these acts of sexual violence are not being committed.
Additionally, the United States has taken the lead in creating resolutions in helping the United Nations in implementing new laws that hold country and military leaders responsible for the violent acts of their men against women.
“The problem that is faced in these countries is that they hold a culture of denial and silence,” said Bangura. “The culture of denial is one of the biggest challenges we have to face and second is the stigma.”
Furthermore, a woman who is a victim is then made to become the subject of shame instead of the perpetrator who committed the crime.
“The stigma is not only on the individual but on the family, on the community.” said Bangura.
As hard as Bangura is working to help change the way sexual violence is viewed in these countries, she believes that people need to speak up.
“We need people to raise their voices and say this is unacceptable.” said Bangura.
The United Nations with the resolutions they have made so far are making an impact, but they still have a long way to go. The United Nations is now charging the military leaders and the countries leaders with large fines and jail time if they do not do anything to prevent these degrading and humiliating crimes against women.