Angelina Jolie’s ongoing campaign to save the world is no joke.
On Tuesday, the actress-slash-humanitarian gave a truly moving speech at a summit in London aimed at stopping sexual violence in areas of conflict.
The Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict was actually thanks to a partnership between Jolie and British Foreign Secretary William Hague. There were, Reuters reports, some 1,200 attendees who convened for the four-day conference, which ends Friday.
Jolie, who acts as a special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, spoke out against the use of sexual violence as part of modern warfare.
“It is a myth that rape is an inevitable part of conflict,” Jolie said. “There is nothing inevitable about it. It is a weapon of war aimed at civilians. It is nothing to do with sex, everything to do with power. It is done to torture and humiliate people, and often to very young children.”
“I have met survivors from Afghanistan to Somalia and they are just like us, with one crucial difference,” Jolie continued. “We live in safe countries with doctors we can go to when we are hurt, police we can turn to when we are wronged, and institutions that protect us. They live in refugee camps or bombed-out streets in areas where there is no law, no protection and not even the hope of justice. They struggle to keep their children safe, and if they admit to being raped, they are likely to face more violence and social rejection.”
“Other survivors live in countries where the war is over, but the peace has brought no justice,” Jolie added. “And as an international community, we are responsible for that. We need to shatter the culture of impunity. And make justice the norm—not the exception—for these crimes.”
“This whole subject has been taboo for far too long, war zone rape is a crime that thrives on silence and denial,” Jolie said. “The stigma harms survivors and causes feelings of shame and worthlessness, it feeds ignorance, such as the notion that rape has anything to do with normal sexual impulses, but most of all, it allows the rapist to get away with it.”
Jolie also told a reporter that her work for the summit, and for an end to sexual violence, came from meeting a Bosnian woman who was too ashamed to tell her son about her rape.
“This day is for her,” Jolie said.