The Stream

Rape as a weapon of war: The untold story of armed conflict

How countries are addressing sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict areas.

On Wednesday, March 9 at 19:30 GMT:

Guatemala made history last month in a landmark ruling that addressed conflict-related sexual violence. A national court declared sexual slavery perpetrated during armed conflict a war crime. It is reportedly the first domestic court in the world to successfully prosecute in the country where the crime took place. The court sentenced two former members of the military to a combined total of 360 years in prison for crimes consisting of rape, sexual slavery and the murder of indigenous women during the country’s 36-year civil war, which began in 1960.

While the ruling is seen as a positive step in bringing justice to those affected by sexual violence in armed conflict, many ask what impact, if any, will the case have on those awaiting justice elsewhere.

Acts of sexual violence are perpetrated daily against women and children worldwide, more often in times of armed conflict. Most cases go unreported and survivors live in silence, while their perpetrator roams free with impunity.   

So, what happens to these survivors over the years, and what needs to be done to help them rebuild their lives?  

Joining this conversation:

Catrin Schulte-Hillen @MSF
Sexual Health Group Leader, Médecins Sans Frontières

Nayanika Mookherjee @NakaMookherjee
Reader – Socio-Cultural Anthropology, Durham University

Joel Davis @JoelAndrewD
Executive Director, Youth to End Sexual Violence

Irma Velasquez Nimatuj
Journalist & Anthropologist

What do you think? Share your thoughts below.