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Paragraph 135 of the Beijing Platform for Action. Chapter IV: Strategic Objectives and Actions


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): The Good Men Project

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2019/07/05

Strategic objective D.3.

Eliminate trafficking in women and assist victims of violence due to prostitution and trafficking

Actions to be taken

135. While entire communities suffer the consequences of armed conflict and terrorism, women and girls are particularly affected because of their status in society and their sex. Parties to conflict often rape women with impunity, sometimes using systematic rape as a tactic of war and terrorism. The impact of violence against women and violation of the human rights of women in such situations is experienced by women of all ages, who suffer displacement, loss of home and property, loss or involuntary disappearance of close relatives, poverty and family separation and disintegration, and who are victims of acts of murder, terrorism, torture, involuntary disappearance, sexual slavery, rape, sexual abuse and forced pregnancy in situations of armed conflict, especially as a result of policies of ethnic cleansing and other new and emerging forms of violence. This is compounded by the life-long social, economic and psychologically traumatic consequences of armed conflict and foreign occupation and alien domination.

Beijing Declaration (1995)

The conversations around prostitution and sex trafficking remain extraordinarily important in the environment of 1995 and still in the period of 2019. Our issues dealing with the issues of violence against women and violence against men remain important to many individuals.

However, if we take a context in which there is a sense of aggression within the context of war creates the greater probability of sexual trafficking and prostitution, wherein the majority of the victim remain women and girls (also known as the majority of civilians in these instances), these victims are “particularly affected because of their status in society and their sex.” The rape is by men of women, not of men by women, in these zones of conflict.

It becomes and remains a tactic of war and terrorism. In an interesting legal framing, if rape is an act of war and terrorism, apart from already known as a heinous act and human rights violation, could instances of mass rape, or even individual rape, in war environments be placed under the categorization or the charge of a terrorist act?

A look at the violence against women and the violation of human rights of women does not discriminate much by age, as “such situations” are “experienced by women of all ages.” There are surrounding issues aside from the horrors of rape and sexual assault seen in forced prostitution and sex trafficking. War destroys everything. There is displacement, hope and property destruction, deaths and losses of close loved ones, and the tearing of intimate fabrics of family and the looser threads of communities.

Victims can be subject to “murder, terrorism, torture, involuntary disappearance, sexual slavery, rape, sexual abuse and forced pregnancy.” The last note on forced pregnancy can be a particularly poignant note with the sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood coming out in September with The Testaments in which a Canadian, and perhaps a North American, audience will harbour a greater sense of the idea of authoritarian regimes oriented purely around reproduction of women, as public utilities.

At the same time, these aren’t entirely the portrayal of the weave seen in societies. These are particular pieces of events re-weaved into stories or narratives reflective of the natural weaves of authoritarian regimes, which makes authoritarian societies extremely and keenly interested in the reproductive capacities of women.  In the cases of attempts at, even successes at, genocide of peoples or ethnic cleansing, the rape of the women of the dominated group becomes a basis for replacement of the population with the makeup of the dominators, the “aggressors” in the previous Geneva Convention terminology.

Let alone the protracted impacts on one’s life from war and conflict, the loss of a sense of self and community prevents an easy re-establishment of a family, a community, or even the psychological wherewithal to it. These circumstances are not abstract, and make one want to weep. These are tragedies perpetuated throughout human history. The solution is not women. One of the solutions is the inclusion of women in important decision-making processes to prevent these wars continuing, for the improvement of peace, and to provide a rounded rather than one-sided perspective often seen in those given by men in charge, which is most of the individuals with the authority in our societies.

–(Updated 2018-11-10, only use the updated listing, please) One can find similar statements in other documents, conventions, declarations and so on, with the subsequent statements of equality or women’s rights:

–Human Rights
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