The above video is officially titled, “Don’t believe the thumbnail, this video is the stuff of nightmares.” And man, they are not kidding.
The video launched this week in conjunction with the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. Government ministers from around the world are currently convening in London for the high-profile event, led by UK Foreign Minister William Hauge and Angelina Jolie. It is the culmination of a 2-year campaign called the Prevention of Sexual Violence Initiative.
As shown in the video, the main focus of the Summit is to end impunity for perpetrators of sexual violence in conflict—including increasing prosecutions and ensuring that perpetrators face consequences for their crimes. While this is an important issue to address, we can’t talk about survivors’ rights to justice without also talking about their rights to confidentiality, dignity and security. These are vital to ensuring that survivors feel they can report incidents and seek services without fear of reprisals or stigma.
Survivors need access to comprehensive services that include not only legal services, but also medical and psychosocial services. For survivors, comprehensive post-rape care, including post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV, emergency contraception and access to safe abortion services are life-saving.
Along with punishing the perpetrators of sexual violence, we hope this week’s Summit will also spark increased discussion around supporting survivors. While impunity for those who use rape as a weapon of war is a nightmare that must be addressed, it’s vital that we don’t lose sight of the other needs and rights of survivors in the process.