The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize—awarded to Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war—recognizes the critical work taking place globally to prevent and end the use of sexual violence in violent conflicts. Used as a weapon of war against women, men, boys and girls, 19 countries have documented this form of violence in 2016 alone. Efforts to prevent the use of sexual violence in conflict have focused on ending impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes—but progress to date has been limited. New approaches are needed that address and prevent the root causes of this violence before it significantly undermines security and tears apart the fabric of a community.

Sexual violence is not only a crime against humanity, but it hinders reintegration and peacebuilding processes in post-conflict environments. The work of Murad and Mukwege reveals that to end sexual violence it is necessary for policy and practice to work in tandem to change legal accountability while simultaneously implementing programs that address gender inequality. 

Over the last two decades, policy frameworks like the Women, Peace and Security agenda, provide a valuable platform for advocacy efforts. Yet such approaches do not tackle the underlying issue of gender inequality. As researchers have documented, where there is less gender equality there is less peace. 

The U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace and Security and the U.S. Institute of Peace hosted this discussion examining how policies and programs can be shaped to better prevent the use of sexual violence and re-establish secure environments when it does occur. Take part in the conversation on Twitter with #HearMeToo.

Speakers

Jackson Katz, keynote remarks
Co-Founder, Mentors in Violence Prevention

Amanda Blair
Program Officer, Learning, Evaluation and Research Team, U.S. Institute of Peace

Anjali Dayal
Assistant Professor, Fordham University

Anthony Keedi
Gender Specialist, ABAAD: Resource Center for Gender Equality

Related Publications

How the World Can Better Support Women Peacebuilders

How the World Can Better Support Women Peacebuilders

Monday, May 20, 2024

Whether it’s providing clean drinking water to displaced persons, organizing education for at-risk youth or directly engaging in mediation between warring parties, the 2023 Women Building Peace Award finalists have all shown themselves to be impactful advocates of peace and stability in their communities. USIP spoke to award recipient Pétronille Vaweka of the Democratic Republic of Congo and finalists Dr. Marie-Marcelle Deschamps of Haiti, Abir Haj Ibrahim of Syria and Hamisa Zaja of Kenya about their work and how the international community can help to empower and expand the critical efforts of women peacebuilders around the world.

Type: Blog

GenderPeace Processes

The Latest @ USIP: Reclaiming Human Rights in Afghanistan

The Latest @ USIP: Reclaiming Human Rights in Afghanistan

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Since taking power in 2021, the Taliban have imposed their own interpretation of Islamic law onto the people of Afghanistan and consistently rolled back human rights protections — especially for women and girls — all while the country struggles to recover from decades of conflict and economic crisis. USIP spoke with Fatima Gailani, the former president of the Afghan Red Crescent Society, about the various ways Afghans can put pressure on the Taliban to reclaim their rights and demand a better future.

Type: Blog

GenderHuman Rights

The Latest @ USIP: How Civil Society is Addressing Haiti’s Crisis

The Latest @ USIP: How Civil Society is Addressing Haiti’s Crisis

Monday, March 25, 2024

In the past few years, life in Haiti has been dominated by gangs’ growing control over huge swathes of the capital, Port-au-Prince. For Haitian families, this crisis has meant extreme violence, pervasive unemployment, lack of education for children and reduced access to health care. 2023 Women Building Peace Award finalist Dr. Marie-Marcelle Deschamps serves as the deputy executive director, the head of the women's health program and the manager of the clinical research unit of GHESKIO Centers in Port-au-Prince. She spoke to USIP about how her work helps women and their families, and what the global community can do to help Haitian civil society address this devastating humanitarian crisis.

Type: Blog

Conflict Analysis & PreventionGender

Addressing Gendered Violence in Papua New Guinea: Opportunities and Options

Addressing Gendered Violence in Papua New Guinea: Opportunities and Options

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Each year, more than 1.5 million women and girls in Papua New Guinea experience gender-based violence tied to intercommunal conflict, political intimidation, domestic abuse, and other causes. It is, according to a 2023 Human Rights Watch report, “one of the most dangerous places to be a woman or girl.” Bleak as this may seem, it is not hopeless. USIP’s new report identifies several promising approaches for peacebuilding programming to reduce gender-based violence and effect meaningful and lasting change in Papua New Guinea.

Type: Special Report

Gender

View All Publications