Friday, June 13, 2014

Rape and the Warrior's Code

Julia Baird, NYT
JUNE 13, 2014

At last, we have a military leader who refuses to allow male soldiers who witness rape to think of themselves as guiltless bystanders.

Every soldier has a “simple, terrible choice: to be a protector or a perpetrator,” says Lt. Gen. David Morrison, the head of the Australian Army. There is, he said in a London forum, no other choice, either in cases of a soldier witnessing a rape by another soldier, or by civilians in war zones. “I have deliberately excluded a third choice, to be a bystander while others commit sexual violence. There are no bystanders — the standard you walk past is the standard you accept.”

General Morrison was invited by the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, to share a stage with Angelina Jolie at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. More than a hundred countries sent leaders and experts to the four-day summit, designed to eradicate the myth, as Ms. Jolie put it, that “rape is an inevitable part of conflict,” not a “weapon of war aimed at civilians.” The figures are overwhelming: More than 150 million young girls and half as many young boys are sexually assaulted every single year; this is far more likely to happen in conflict zones. Somewhere between 250,000 and 500,000 women were raped in Rwanda in 1994. In the Republic of Congo, according to Unicef, some 40 percent of women are thought to have experienced sexual assault.

(More here.)


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