“The international community looks the other way with sexual violence in conflicts”

Christina Lamb.

Award-winning British correspondent Christina Lamb investigates rape and abuse victims in the book ‘Our Bodies, Their Battles’

Alvaro Soto

From Elena’s abduction to Afghanistan in 2021, women have been a weapon of war with which armies and terrorists have punished their adversaries. But while mass killings committed in international conflicts have on many occasions been turned into war crimes and in some cases even ended up in international courts, sexual violence is still considered a second-rate evil. The prestigious British journalist Christina Lamb (London, 1965) has investigated the abuses against women and has turned these stories, almost always forgotten, into a shocking book, ‘Our bodies, their battles’ (Principal of the Books).

The victims Lamb has spoken to, from Argentina to Syria to Bosnia, mostly share a terrifying thought. “Many of them told me that, after being raped, they would rather have died because in addition to the physical damage, they have also suffered mental problems and have suffered rejection from their communities, who even blame them for what has happened to them and reach out to them. to expel ”, recounts the international correspondent of the Sunday Times, who describes this reality of victims in a triple way.

And yet, despite the fact that thousands of women in any conflict suffer sexual violence, the international community “looks the other way and does not investigate these crimes in depth.” In fact, Lamb recalls, many of the men who have committed sex crimes in international conflicts later participated in the peace talks “and now walk freely and with impunity in cities like Paris or London.” «Few women are in those peace processes after a war and in this way, the problem is not visible. This is something that must end with a strong international leadership in the face of these crimes, “says the author.

Lamb tells that he has just arrived from Afghanistan, where the Taliban have regained power, and explains that the experience of this country serves as an example of what has happened in many others. “Sexual violence in conflict has always been thought of as a problem that affects women, but the reality is that it is committed by men. For example, in Afghanistan, when the Taliban regime fell in 2001, no one bothered to teach men what to do.

Around the world the #MeToo or in Spain the case of ‘La Manada’, which Lamb has studied, have helped raise awareness about sexual violence. “It is shocking that situations like this have to be reached for society to realize such a widespread problem, but it is true that now there is more knowledge about these abuses. Arisen in Spain, the ‘Only yes is yes’ movement is a model for many countries, “underlines the journalist, who has received the award for best correspondent of the year in her country on five occasions, among other awards, in addition to publishing several books Among them, ‘I am Malala’, along with Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani who suffered an attack for defending her right to study and who in 2014 won the Nobel Peace Prize.

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