Before a sexual violence survivor in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has her day in court, she must surmount many obstacles. Poor or nonexistent roads and costly transportation may prevent her from going to a police station to report the crime, or to a hospital to receive treatment for the injuries sustained during the violence.
“States must make concrete commitments to enable and protect women human rights defenders, so that they can safely and securely carry out their work in support of victims of sexual and gender-based violence,” Amnesty International told the Global Summit on Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict that wound up Friday in London.
When sexual violence - whether against men, women or children - takes place in United Nations peacekeeping missions worldwide, the world body has been quick to single out the perpetrators and expel them back to their home countries.
Imagine an orphanage where over 300 children born out of rape have been abandoned because of the shame and stigma associated with sexual violence. Imagine a town where, in the last year, 11 infants between the ages of six months and one year, and 59 small children from one to three years old, have been raped.
Sexual violence against women is alarmingly under-reported and invisible in Brazil where, for example, there are no accurate, comparable data on rape in the country's 27 states.
Ecuador hopes to move forward in the fight against violence against women by typifying femicide – gender-motivated killings – as a specific crime in the new penal code.
At a high-level event at the United Nations in New York on Tuesday, U.N. Women, the United Nations body for female empowerment and gender equality, called for stronger action from world leaders to prevent and punish sexual violence in conflict.