Warzone Rape Prosecutions Must Be Accompanied By Efforts To Tackle Root Causes of Sexual Violence

 UK
 Advocacy
 6th Jun 2014

As the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict starts in London, humanitarian agency CARE International calls for governments around the world to include teaching on gender equality and ending violence against women in national curricula.

CARE International welcomes the Global Summit as an unprecedented attempt to rid the world of the scourge of warzone rape and is proud to advise UK foreign minister William Hague as a steering group member of his Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative.

We support the efforts of Hague and UN special envoy Angelina Jolie to replace the culture of impunity for sexual violence in conflict with one of deterrence, by increasing the number of perpetrators brought to justice.

However, we believe that the culture of impunity is only one of the causes of sexual violence in conflict and that ending warzone rape requires that the root causes are addressed. In particular, men and boys, who are the primary perpetrators of rape in warzones, must be at the centre of efforts to end sexual violence in conflict.

CARE urges the Summit to commit to ensuring that teaching on gender equality and ending sexual violence is included in national education curricula. We also urge delegates to agree steps to scale up programmes to engage men and boys on gender equality and the prevention of gender-based violence in conflict-affected countries, particularly those making commitments at the Summit.

Alice Allan, CARE Global Head of Advocacy, said: “We will not end warzone rape unless we tackle its root causes. Ministers attending the Summit can use this moment to galvanise action to shift global attitudes to women.”

“We are calling for governments around the world to recognise that teaching boys to respect women, challenging and changing their attitudes, and overcoming everyday sexism can help prevent sexual violence, both in times of peace and during conflict.

“Men and boys can be allies and champions for change and this in turn can stop the cycle of violence from spreading to the next generation.”

Globally, one in three women will be raped, beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. The impact of this global epidemic is far reaching. According to the World Bank, gender-based violence accounts for as much death and ill-health in women aged 15-44 years as cancer does. It is a greater cause of ill-health than malaria and traffic accidents combined. CARE believes that this cycle of violent discrimination against girls and women can – and must – change.

CARE's work in the Balkans, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi has shown that working with men and boys really can break the cycle of violence. In parts of the Balkans, our work to teach boys and young men about respect, consent and non-violence in relationships has been scaled up by the government and is already on the school curriculum. In Pristina, Kosovo, 73% of young male adults now say it is wrong to use violence against an unfaithful partner, compared to 48% before.

Find out more:

Read about Angelina Jolie's visit to a CARE project near Goma. 

Meet Joel, who provides solace and advises survivors of sexual violence on how and where to access medical care.

Watch a short video about Josephine's story, who experienced sexual violence in conflict. 

Notes to Editor

Our full Summit policy position paper can be found here.

Following a visit to see CARE’s work to tackle a culture of violence among young men in Kosovo, Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, is backing CARE’s call for governments worldwide to follow the example of the Balkans and include teaching on gender equality and ending violence against women in their national curricula.

Ahead of the Summit, we have launched a petition hosted on www.change.org that calls for schools around the world to teach young people about sexual consent and respectful relationships by putting it on national education curricula.

The Everyday Sexism Project is active in 18 countries including the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, France, Germany and Netherlands.

For almost 20 years, CARE has addressed the underlying causes of gender-based violence and its effect on survivors in both conflict and stable development settings. A new report Challenging Gender-based Violence Worldwide analyses the impact of this work and how to build momentum based on extensive findings from our work in 58 countries to tackle violence against women.

Press office contacts

For more information, or to arrange an interview with CARE Global Head of Advocacy, Alice Allan, please contact:

Kathryn Richards, richards@careinternational.org, + 44 (0) 20 7091 6047

Nicola Peckett, peckett@careinternational.org, + 44 (0) 20 7091 6015

Out-of-hours: + 44 (0) 7824 563 810

About CARE: Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian and development organization fighting global poverty and providing lifesaving assistance in emergencies. In fiscal year 2013, CARE worked in 86 countries around the world, supporting 927 poverty-fighting development and humanitarian aid projects to reach 97 million people. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to help lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. 

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