Angelina Jolie gave a powerful speech to open the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London today.
Jolie, who is Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, co-chaired the event. The summit seeks to fight sexual violence as it occurs throughout the world and offer ideas for practical action.
Jolie said in her speech, "It is a myth that rape is an inevitable part of conflict. There is nothing inevitable about it. It is a weapon of war aimed at civilians. It is nothing to do with sex, everything to do with power. It is done to torture and humiliate innocent people and often very young children.
"I have met survivors from Afghanistan to Somalia and they are just like us, with one crucial difference: we live in safe countries with doctors we can go to when we are hurt, police we can turn to when we are wronged, and institutions that protect us. They live in refugee camps or bombed-out streets in areas where there is no law, no protection, and not even the hope of justice. They struggle to keep their children safe, and if they admit to being raped they are likely to face more violence and social rejection."
"… More than 100 countries will be represented at this summit, and we are asking them to take these measures, but we really do need your help.This whole subject has been taboo for far too long, war zone rape is a crime that thrives on silence and denial. The stigma harms survivors and causes feelings of shame and worthlessness. It feeds ignorance, such as the notion that rape has anything to do with normal sexual impulses, but most of all, it allows the rapist to get away with it. They feel above the law because the law rarely touches them and society tolerates them."