Monster Myths, Selfies and Grand Declarations
8 Pages Posted: 26 Sep 2015
Date Written: September 25, 2015
In London in June 2014, sexual violence in conflict was center stage. The Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, also known as the ESVC Summit, was organized and hosted by the then-UK Foreign Minister William Hague alongside film star and United Nations High Commission for Refugees Special Envoy Angelina Jolie. The Summit was part of Hague’s Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI), a key initiative that he spearheaded during his 2010-14 term as Foreign Minister. The event, held at the ExCel Centre in London’s docklands, unfolded over the course of four days. Officials and invited specialists held meetings upstairs while NGO staff and activists were relegated to the public-facing “Fringe” area complete with theaters, information booths and a marketplace. At last, for the first time in history, a major international conference on sexual violence with thousands of governmental staff, NGO workers, academics, activists, service providers – and importantly, survivors themselves – came about, the likes of which would have seemed impossible a few short years ago. Was it cause for celebration? In many ways undoubtedly yes, but not unreservedly so. This conversation piece offers an insight into the two authors feelings and views following their attendance at the event – Aisling as an invited expert in the official meetings and Henri as an NGO participant at the Fringe events.
Keywords: sexual violence in conflict, gender, women, Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI)
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