IPPF at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict
“What I never expected.. was that I would go from an unknown torturer to a public one, ” Linda, a survivor speaking at IPPF’s event at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict
The Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict - the largest gathering ever brought together on this subject – is taking place in London.
The event is the culmination of two years of work by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie, special envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
At IPPF’s panel discussion at the Summit - entitled “Sexual Violence, SRHR and Gender Equality: Responding now, Preventing in the Future” - a packed room heard powerful testimony from Linda, a survivor of sexual violence from Venezuela, who described her ordeal and the work she is doing to tackle injustice. Isabelita Mercado, an IPPF emerging leader from Colombia, spoke about the situation of women in armed conflict in her country. UNFPA’s expert on gender based violence in South Sudan, Ms. Caroline Nyamayemombe, and Sofia Dohmen, a specialist on gender equality from Sida, the Swedish Development Agency also gave their own perspectives.
“What I never expected after so much pain and cruelty experienced, was that I would go from an unknown torturer - the man who over three months held me against my will and attacked me- to a public and notorious one: the current justice system in Venezuela.
“Currently, my case against the Venezuelan State is in the hands of the Interamerican Commission of Human Rights. This is my last hope for justice!
“If my case makes it to the Interamerican Court of Human Rights, it would be the first Venezuelan case of gender based violence to make it to this international tribunal. For me, the most important thing is that the truth is told about my case. An international sentence would promote the hope that the way I have been treated by the Venezuelan system will not happen again to another woman.”
The participants also looked at how sexual violence should be addressed in the post-2015 agenda, specifically, in relation to addressing violence against women within a standalone goal on gender equality.
Closing the event President of IPPF, Naomi Seboni, said: “There is a strong imperative to promote the recognition of sexual rights, beyond access to services. Prioritising, supporting and championing sexual rights at the national, regional and global levels will contribute to the dismantling of wider structural inequalities that perpetuate patterns of sexual violence in conflict.”
To mark the Summit, IPPF Director General Tewodros Melesse writes about the role gender equality has in preventing sexual violence in the Huffington Post: