This expert roundtable meeting focused on the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) priority of tackling the stigma suffered by survivors of sexual violence, and children born of rape, and the long term consequences this may have in communities, reconciliation and peacebuilding. There was an emphasis on conflict and post-conflict states, drawing on the experiences of the PSVI stigma workshops held in affected countries and informed by NGO and Champion working group meetings.
Themes included: the root causes of stigma; impacts on survivors, their families and the wider community; attitudinal change and problematic narratives; domestic policies and laws; the distinction in impacts of stigma for women, men, girls and boys and children born of rape; coordinated approaches and cooperation frameworks; appropriate service provision; and the role of faith and community leaders, the media, security and health sectors. The meeting will contribute to the development of recommendations to tackle stigma, in the form of an Action Plan comprised of specific country and thematic goals for presentation to the international community.
Participation was by invitation only: civil society organisations including survivor groups, youth, community and faith leaders, government, legal and medical experts, trusted media, military, police, and regional and multilateral bodies (UN, ICRC). There will be an emphasis on active participation from conflict and post conflict countries eg Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Nepal, Colombia, Sri Lanka, Uganda, South Sudan, Burma and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Under the Wilton Park protocol and through frank and off-the-record discussion in a safe and neutral environment whereby all participants contribute on an equal footing, the meeting sought to:
- Share lessons learned and best practice for what has and has not worked, and why, in order to maximise capacity and impact on the ground.
- Produce an action plan for achieving a sustained impact over 3-4 years including future opportunities and risks.
- Prioritise a list of actions with a particular emphasis on donor countries, international organisations and governments in focus countries to take forward in addressing identified challenges faced by survivors through political lobbying, programming and advocacy opportunities.
We asked our roundtable participants ‘What do you consider the biggest challenge of tackling stigma to be?’ We hosted discussion and dialogue on how best to end stigma for victims of sexual violence in conflict.
Ending violence against women and girls around the world – conversation with Baroness Anelay
Sexual violence in the CAR (War Child UK)
Tackling the stigma of sexual violence ( Foreign Office Minister for Human Rights)
The ICRC and the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) (reliefweb, Dec 2016)