Washington, DC (PRWEB) June 06, 2012
Women for Women International (WfWI) has announced it is joining the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict. The campaign is dedicated to coordinating efforts to end the use of systematic rape in conflict and is the first such collaboration between Nobel Peace Laureates from the Nobel Women’s Initiative, international advocacy organizations, and groups working at the regional and community levels in conflict areas.
As a member organization, Women for Women International stands behind the campaign’s three pillars of action: to prevent sexual violence in conflict, to protect women and survivors, and to prosecute perpetrators of such crimes and end impunity. “In modern wars and conflicts, the prevalence of rape and sexual violence often means it is more dangerous to be a woman than it is to be a soldier,” said WfWI’s President and COO Andree Simon. “Such attacks on women and civilians must stop, and Women for Women International is proud to join the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict in their efforts to bring attention and action to support this goal.”
The campaign will focus on four target countries where the most urgent action is needed: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Burma, and Colombia. Since 2004, WfWI has served nearly 48,000 women survivors of war and conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, many of whom are survivors of rape and repeated sexual assaults. Each year, it is estimated that 400,000 women in the DR Congo are raped, a place that has been infamously called “the rape capital of the world.”
“What we are seeing in North and South Kivu is that rape is not only harming women, but it is destroying the social fabric of communities,” explained Karen Sherman, WfWI’s Executive Director of Global Programs, about the situation on the ground. “Inside and outside of the home, women are not safe, and the violence committed by combatants often carries over into the family and community.”
Rape and sexual violence has been used as a weapon of war around the world, against women as well as men. The effects of such violence can last for decades and generations, as survivors struggle to deal with the enduring physical and psychological trauma, and as children born of rape continue to suffer from stigmatization and abuse.
Since 1993, Women for Women International has worked to provide women survivors of war, civil strife and other conflicts with resources to move from crisis and poverty into stability and self-sufficiency. Through a tiered, year-long program that begins with direct financial aid and emotional support, WfWI participants learn about their legal rights, receive business and life-skills training, and gain access to income-generating activities. Along with helping more than 317,000 women in the past 19 years to rebuild their own lives and those of their families and communities after war, WfWI uses its voice to call global attention to the unique role that women play in advancing peace throughout society. WfWI works in Afghanistan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Kosovo, Nigeria, Rwanda, and South Sudan.
Having served women who have been targets of sexual violence in conflict for years, Women for Women International is proud to be part of the concerted efforts of the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict and hopes that this campaign will be a leading force for action to prevent such violence, protect those who are most vulnerable, and prosecute those who commit these crimes.
Press wishing to contact Women for Women International should email nhewitt(at)womenforwomen(dot)org