How was it that in six years with him I had never understood the truth?
Trigger warning: details of domestic violence.
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For years ISIS have been using terrorism as a tactic, however Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie today warned that terrorist groups are now using rape as the “centre point of their terror” and insisted that the extremists are encouraged to use it as a “very effective weapon.”
Speaking to the House of Lords in London, she said: “The most aggressive terrorist group in the world today knows what we know, knows that it is a very effective weapon and they are using it as a centre point of their terror and their way of destroying communities and families, and attacking and dehumanising.
“This terrorist group we are dealing with in Syria and Iraq is absolutely using rape. They are dictating it as policy.
Jolie, who has long been campaigning the issue, said that it was beyond something the world had ever seen before and urged a “very, very strong response” to the terror groups in Iraq and Syria. “I think the most important thing to understand is what it’s not. It’s not sexual, it is a violent brutal terrorising weapon,” she said.
Sexual attacks on women have become a huge part of the ISIS culture; last year it was revealed that the group had made rape a central part of their religion, an act demonstrating the lengths they are willing to go to exude power and instil terror. In a recent article for CNN, the United Nations special representative of the secretary general on sexual violence in conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, came to the disturbing conclusion that the conflict in the Islamic State is in essence “a war on women and girls.”
“The refugees and displaced women and girls I met told me how sexual violence is being committed strategically, in a systematic manner, and with a high degree of sophistication by most of the parties to the conflicts…” she said.
“But while it is true that most parties to the conflict are committing sexual violence, it is extremist groups like ISIL that have been particularly public and shameless in institutionalizing sexual violence and engaging in the brutalization of women and girls as a tactic of terror to advance their key strategic objectives.”
Some of the tactics she pointed out included allowing fighters’ generous access to women and girls in a bid to increase recruitment, using women as a vessel to produce children for fighting purposes, and selling females in slave markets to generate funds for the group.
Zainab’s words echo that of humanity at its absolute worst. Likened to the revival of the slave trade in the 21st century, it’s clear that action needs to be taken and fast. Everyone deserves the right to live in an environment where being a women isn’t something to be ashamed of, or afraid of. According to international humanitarian law, there is an obligation to punish such crimes currently being committed by ISIS, but where and how do we start? Do we fight war with war, or do we find other means of intervening? Ones thing is for certain: the UN needs more support; this is something that needs to be addressed not as a nation, but as a globe.
Image via Reuters
The World Health Organization (WHO) has found one in three women will suffer physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives. Of the countries surveyed, Japan reported the lowest rates of female victims of violence, (15 per cent) and Ethiopia the highest (71 per cent).
While in recent years, resources to help women in the aftermath of sexual or physical violence have improved, preventative measures remain poor. Violence occurs most frequently when both victim and perpetrator have low education levels.
WHO is calling for more anti gender discrimination measures and education programs to be established worldwide.
Professor Charlotte Watts and Dr Claudia Garcia-Moreno, leaders of the research, say that working to change the perceptions and attitudes of both perpetrators and victims of violence – correcting notions that women are inferior to men – will help reduce rates of physical and sexual against women.
“Evidence tells us that changes in attitudes and behaviours are possible, and can be achieved within less than a generation,” Professor Watts said.
Furthermore, medical and health professionals, as the first point of contact for most victims of violence, should be encouraged to provide greater programs to educate and assist perpetrators and victims.
“Health-care providers can send a powerful message – that violence is not only a social problem, but a dangerous, unhealthy, and harmful practice – and they can champion prevention efforts in the community,” Dr Garcie-Moreno said.
“The health community is missing important opportunities to integrate violence programming meaningfully into public health initiatives on HIV/AIDS, adolescent health, maternal health, and mental health.”
The researchers are lobbying governments to eliminate laws that encourage gender-based discrimination and violence, increase support, awareness and resources, and inject more time and funding into programs that eliminate gender-based violence, and address the issue as a global health problem, that can have lifelong medical repercussions for its victims.
Today is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. November 25 – December 10 mark 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign. Click here for further information. Click here for the WHO Violence Against Women fact sheet.
We love any technology that helps women protect themselves, so we were really excited to hear about a new app – created by an Australian grandfather! – called GotU, which is the new essential app for all women.
GotU turns the table of attackers by capturing and transmitting photographic evidence of any threat or attack, within seconds to only the user’s chosen trusted recipients. The message received includes a tamperproof image of the situation, a map and GPS co-ordinates, date, time and other data.
And it couldn’t be easier to use. Just one touch, and the photo and data are recorded and sent.
GotU was conceived by Keith Jolly, a 72-year-old semi-retired IT professional, and a grandfather of five from rural New South Wales. In 2011 he and his wife witnessed an assault on a Sydney train. As the attack took place in front of horrified passengers, Mr Jolly realised he needed an app on his smartphone that immediately transmitted evidence of a crime to secure locations, before any offender had time to take or destroy his phone, and without becoming a target himself.
Mr. Jolly said GotU is also intended to record, and potentially deter other harmful incidents. These include alcohol induced violence, bullying, sexual harassment, workplace and campus harassment and assault, taxi violence, racial crime, stalking, abduction, rape, mistreatment of the elderly and disabled, assault and institutional persecution. GotU can also be a useful tool for witnessing violations of restraining orders and AVOs.
We think GotU is an essential app for any smartphone user, and at only $1.99, it’s a no-brainer. Download it for yourself, your kids, or gift a friend.
Mr Jolly and his colleagues are donating a percentage of proceeds to global anti-violence organisations. GotU is not an alternative to calling the emergency services but an app Mr Jolly says he wished he had had on his smartphone that day on the train in 2011.
GotU was launched globally to coincide with the UN’s 16 Days of activism against gender violence, and the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. According to the World Health Organisation’s first global study into the prevalence of violence against women released in July, nearly 30% of women globally have suffered sexual and/or physical violence, often at hands of their partner.
Visit www.gotutech.com to download the app now.