I ask everyone to think about ways you can help to transform attitudes so that women and girls who have survived rape in deadly conflict are treated with dignity and respect by society, like other war veterans.
Men wounded in battle get statues, pensions and respect, but women and girls wounded by Conflict Related Sexual Violence are seen as something shameful.
Whether it’s Syria, Bosnia, Kosovo, Congo, the Yasidi community or elsewhere, one of the most destructive powers of rape as a weapon of war lies in the deep-rooted stigma attached to women and girls who are survivors of Conflict Related Sexual Violence. Their families fear being tarnished by the shame and stigma. Long after the end of the conflict, wives, mothers and daughters who are CRSV Survivors, are ostracised by their husbands, families and communities. They are even told to kill themselves because they ‘have brought shame on their family’.
Female survivors of Conflict Related Sexual Violence could be helped to overcome their horrendous experience if their families, communities and everyone else treat them with dignity and respect.
We are holding a meeting on Tuesday 24 March at the House of Commons. It would be super if you can come. You are welcome to bring a friend or colleague with you too. The link to register to attend is below.
Purpose of meeting on 24 March 2020
Back in 2015 Lesley Abdela and Tim Symonds arranged a discussion on this matter at the British Council HQ, including people from the Imperial War Museum, the Royal Society of Sculptors, and significant activists from major women’s campaign groups.
We suggested the idea of a ‘Testament’, perhaps a physical monument (or?) in a public location, to mark the survivor spirit of the multitudes of women and girls who have been raped in war. We thought to start at home in the UK. People in diverse countries can choose some similar construct or their own ways and methods. The aim is to help to encourage everyone to take actions to transform attitudes towards women and girls who have been raped in war.
The idea was met with great enthusiasm lots of good suggestions, but the main drivers of the idea, had to get on with their professional lives.
By popular acclaim we are returning to the idea see if/how it can be moved forward.
The main point of the meeting will be to decide what sort of Testament, and where could it be best located for the maximum impact if it has physical shape, i.e. a monument, or? And next steps for making it happen and how,
You can register for the House of Commons meeting with this link. There is no charge to register nor to attend the meeting.