International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict 2022: Theme, History and Significance
This day serves to align young people's movements "to stand in solidarity with the survivors, and those working to support them, to ensure they are not forgotten in a climate of intersecting crises, pandemic recovery, and constrained resources." The young people too have a role to play if the call to eliminate sexual violence is to be meaningful and sustainable.
On the 19th of June 2015 history was made when the United Nations declared it the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict. Does sexual violence occur during conflicts? It might look an odd question, but it is one that is definitely worth considering. When most of us think about sexual violence, we often picture an inappropriate interaction between a man and a woman most commonly, a male harassing a female however this happens in different ways like sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy and enforced sterilization.
Ouch this is something that can happen to your Woman or Man Crush Wednesday, Monday or the other day and forever. The rape of men and boys has been used to attack their socially constructed identity as “protectors”, and to inflict humiliation, given prevailing stereotypes about masculine invulnerability. The risks and repercussions of conflict-related sexual violence are linked with identity-based vulnerabilities, which are multiple and intersecting.
I grew up in a society where people used to say ‘’be a man’’ in situations where one was broken, this to me meant being a man you should be able to deal with every situation however sexual violence in conflict has proved this wrong for example In Tanganyika Province, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a young man was stripped naked, raped and forced to rape his own mother during a Twa militia attack on his village. It took him many months to overcome the profound sense of shame, trauma and the fear of stigmatization and reprisals, in order to seek support.
Being a MUZUKULU meaning I have only seen one of the most peaceful regimes in Uganda does not mean there no cases of sexual violence in Uganda and the worst I have read of was in Northern Uganda where Lord’s Resistance Army acts of rape, turning children into sex slaves and soldiers made this country bleed and cry tears that could literarily fill the petroleum tanks in these times of fuel scarcity.
Countries should come up to Strengthen the capacity of national rule of law institutions and this is critical in order to advance credible and inclusive accountability processes for past crimes, as well as for prevention and deterrence of future crimes.
Also amplifying advocacy, improving coordination and accountability, and supporting country efforts to prevent conflict-related sexual violence and respond effectively to the needs of survivors. The underreporting of sexual violence remains a concern in Afghanistan and other war-torn areas where the situation of gender-based inequality, violence, discriminatory social norms and stigmatization prevents women and girls from accessing information and services.
The young people movements also ought to be engaged to enhance the understanding on the dangers of violence, the significance of reporting and advocacy against sexual violence not only during conflict but also in all settings. This is at the center of our action plan to advance young people’s movements in the elimination of all forms of violence.