United Nations: Rape is One of the World's Greatest Security Challenges
Wednesday, August 11, 2010 3:00 PM

According the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Margot Wallstrom, the use of rape as a weapon of war is often overlooked and minimized. Wallstrom noted that mass rape is a crime against humanity and should not be dealt with less seriously than mass murder.


While many continue to dismiss mass rape as a “side effect” of combat or a cultural problem, the Special Representative stressed that in modern warfare, rape has emerged as a weapon of war in its own right. In other words, mass rape is employed as a primary means through which enemy combatants damage and demoralize communities.


Wallstrom hopes to ensure that women and girls in conflict zones feel safer, and her priorities in this regard include:

  • Empowering victims of mass rape to access help and justice
  • Encouraging political leaders to take measures against sexual violence
  • Increasing awareness about the use of rape as a weapon of war
  • Increasing coordination and cooperation among United Nations agencies responding to sexual violence

Compiled from: UN official decries ‘overlooked’ crime of rape during conflict, UN News Centre (6 August 2010).