During her visit to New York for the United Nations General Assembly, the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, Baroness Anelay and her UN counterpart, Special Representative Zainab Hawa Bangura, co-hosted an event to boost international collaboration on the campaign to end the stigma of sexual violence.
Baroness Anelay and Special Representative Bangura led a panel discussion with an audience consisting of PSVI champion countries, UN bodies, NGOs and academics.
They were joined by 3 other panellists who have first-hand experience of this issue: Jineth Bedoya – leading Colombian campaigner of ‘It’s Not Time To Be Silent’, Dr Jo Lusi – co-founder of HEAL Africa and Peter Maurer – President of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Discussions centred around the role of the media in tackling survivor stigma and the role that international organisations have to play. Panellists also spoke about their own personal experiences, showing determination to persevere with this important work to end sexual violence in conflict.
Speaking after the event Baroness Anelay said:
Survivors of sexual violence are often ridiculed, shamed and ostracised from their families and communities. They are treated differently, cut off from support networks and denied justice. That is why challenging the stigma of sexual violence is so important.
We have already started work across the world on understanding the challenges, and attitudes of stigma. It is only by working together, sharing knowledge and experience and by committing to challenge these harmful attitudes, that we will make a difference.
In addition to this event, the UK is also hosting workshops to understand specific cultural, social and economic issues which prevent survivors from integrating into their communities and being accepted by their families.
Embassies in the DRC, Somalia, South Sudan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Colombia, and Nigeria will also host workshops on ending stigma.
This continues to build on work started at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, held in London on 10-13 June 2014