As part of the UK’s forthcoming Presidency of the G8 in 2012, Foreign Secretary William Hague has announced a UK initiative on preventing sexual violence in conflict.
Namely because, after scrutinising the press release from the Foreign Commonwealth Office beyond the headline, I just don’t see much on how this initiative aims to focus on prevention. And it drives me crazy when programmes (good or not) do not accurately describe what they’re doing and why.
In the press release, the closest line of logic I can find linked to ‘prevention’ is
And we want to see a significant increase in the number of successful prosecutions so that we erode and eventually demolish the culture of impunity.
So maybe the connection to prevention is:
demolishing the culture of impunity towards wartime sexual violence –> less rape in ongoing and future conflicts
That seems really nice. I am all about breaking down impunity. Just given the complicated structural factors and causes of wartime rape, it seems like a very distant outcome. Especially when considering that the majority of the work proposed for the initiative is aimed at gathering evidence and testimony to support investigations, capacity building for national authorities on legal frameworks and campaigning on the need for stronger international response on sexual violence during war.
Foreign Secretary announces UK initiative on
preventing convicting sexual violence in conflict
Let’s not get sloppy with our language just because it sounds nicer to ‘prevent’ rape during war. Rounding up to a future impact dilutes the fact that increasing conviction and prosecution rates are major victories in themselves.