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Reaching out to victims of sexual violence in conflict

June the 19th marks the U.N.’s International Day for the Elimination of Sexual violence in conflict. Experts have described it as “a global epidemic” that is taking place on a worrying scale in many nations around the world.
By Susy Hodges

“The Plight and Rights of Children Born of War” was the theme for the 2018 observance of the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence. In its message marking the day the United Nations wrote about how children conceived through rape in war-time are rarely accepted by society.

Marginalized and shunned
“These children also often struggle with issues of identity and belonging for decades after the end of war,” it said. The message noted that the mothers of these children conceived through rape “may be marginalized and shunned by their own families and communities” and this stigma may have “life-long repercussions” for both the mother and her child conceived in this way.

Pramila Patten, the UN special representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, recently met refugee women from Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority who have suffered sexual abuse.

Rohingya woman tells her story
Among those she met was a young woman who described how she and her family fled when the Myanmar military arrived but a soldier caught up with her in the forest and raped her. Patten described the measures that are being taken to help such women and the babies who are conceived as a result of sexual violence during conflict.

No figures are available on the number of number of Rohingya women who have been raped by Myanmar’s military but an earlier UN report accused the nation’s armed forces of using rape “as a weapon of war” against the Rohingya community.

Source: Vatican News

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