Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict
Statement by Stop Demand Foundation
Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict 10-12 June 2014, London
The collective intent by representatives of governments, non-governmental agencies and civil society, to end sexual violence in conflict zones, is to be applauded.
Rape as a weapon of war, mostly by men against women and children, is heinous. Its devastation to victims, families and communities is incalculable.
But how do we end sexual violence in times of war when we cannot end sexual violence in times of peace?
Rape in war, like rape within homes and across communities in all countries through sexual assault, incest, marital rape and stranger rape, does not take place in a vacuum. It is fuelled by beliefs around power, domination, masculinity and perceived entitlement. It is sustained by attitudes that are glorified through pornography, attitudes that permeate global sex markets of prostitution and trafficking and attitudes that are exalted in cultures such as rap music, comedy clubs, sports bars and corporate boardrooms where rape is routinely reduced to a punch line.
Legislation and improved law enforcement will not end rape in times of war, just as it has not ended rape in times of peace.
Although we call on governments, on law makers and law enforcers to end rape in war, ultimately our loudest call must go out to men.
Reducing rape requires a global seismic shift in men’s attitudes on issues of masculinity, power and perceived entitlement.
Rape is within men’s control. It is not inevitable. Rape, and participation in rape culture, is a choice.
We implore men everywhere to step up, speak out and make better choices. Men can end rape in war. Men can end rape.