On International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, we express our concern for all women around the world whose bodies have been used as weapons of war.  We think about the women of Colombia who, after 50 years of conflict, are coming forward to share their experiences in the hope that the truth about these horrible crimes will be recognised and that justice will be done.

Speaking up for survivors of sexual violence in Colombia

Christian Aid’s Colombian partners Sisma Mujer and the National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders yesterday shared the experiences of female survivors of sexual violence to key institutions, including Colombia´s highest courts, responsible for bringing justice to those affected by the country’s 50-year long conflict.

Speaking on the eve of the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, Sisma Mujer shared a total of six reports which will serve as evidence for future legal investigations. Some of the women represented in the reports have been waiting 19 years for their testimonies to come to light.

The group also called for financial reparations for survivors to help them rebuild their lives, as well as to demand assurances that such violence could never happen again.

Armed groups from all sides of the conflict have perpetrated sexual violence in Colombia. While 20,000 cases have been recorded the real figure is thought to be much higher.

This is an issue that disproportionally affects indigenous and black women who are estimated to be 2.5 times more likely the victims of violence in Colombia.

The Colombian government was also asked to do more to protect the women we work with who are brave enough to speak out against sexual violence, many of whom have faced threats and intimidation themselves.

 

Author: Paul Donohoe