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We all know war is destructive, that it can leave nations and people alike crippled for years to come, both physically and metaphorically. But the unrest associated with war can also have unseen implications.
Sexual violence is often a product of war that is obscured by war's more publicized aspects. For example, in the Congo, women and girls are being raped and tortured while the country experiences civil war. And women in feuding Burma are constantly frightened for their lives because the Burmese army systematically rapes them as punishment for insurgents' actions.
This grisly, underbelly of war is devastating not only to women but to entire nations. The United Nations' fund dedicated to Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict is working to end the use of sex as a weapon in times of conflict, and war. Often, though, its critical mission is not made a priority while planning an international response to unrest.
The women of the world need to make sure that leaders know that we will not stand for being victims of sexual violence. Write to the UN demanding that the protection of women during times of unrest be made a priority and a key element to every UN-sponsored mission."
Dear UN representatives:
We must stop the cycle of sexual violence that war inevitably produces. All around the world where nations are experiencing civil unrest, women are being raped and assaulted.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, where a civil war continues to ravage the nation, girls as young as infants are raped. In Darfur, armed men rape women in front of their whole families. In Burma, women have been raped and burned alive.
Extreme sexual violence is a product of war that must be dealt with immediately. Innocent women and girls' lives are being destroyed as the wartime strife continues.
Please make sure you are addressing the needs of our women worldwide who are at risk of sexual violence in their countries.
Thank you for your consideration.