Armed conflict continues to fill the news, and with it, stories of a grim humanitarian crisis, both among refugees and local civilian populations.
Though warfare affects everyone it touches, it has the potential to unleash particularly catastrophic effects on women. Vulnerable to sexual aggression – whether from combatants or unsavory elements in an unstable society – women are at special risk. And when women live in honor societies – where even their victimization renders them potential offenders of family and community honor – the horror of war-related sexual crimes is exacerbated by the threat of ostracism, physical punishment, or death.
I had the privilege and honor of attending the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London in mid-June.