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Event

The War Crime No One Wants to Talk About. A Conversation with Christina Lamb

Date & Time

Thursday
Dec. 10, 2020
4:00pm – 5:00pm ET

Overview

A powerful conversation with author and award-winning foreign correspondent Christina Lamb on the prevalence of gender-based violence in modern conflict, based on her decades of reporting from the frontlines around the world. Lamb is the author of the newly-released book Our Bodies, Their Battlefield: What War Does to Women.

This event is part of a Wilson Center series held in recognition of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (November 25 – December 10, 2020), an international campaign to build awareness and galvanize action in the fight against violence against women and girls.

A wake-up call... These women's stories will make you weep and rage. Amal Clooney

Speaker Quotes

Christina Lamb

“If you take Syria, today, where they’ve been at war now for nine years, there’s still millions of people carrying on with their lives, going to work, getting married, having children, and mostly it seems to me that the people who are organizing that ‘carrying on with life’ when all hell is breaking loose around them, and protecting and educating the children and the elderly, are the women. To me, that’s at least as heroic as the fighting in war, so that’s always been my main interest. But there is also a dark side of what happens to women in war and that’s the use of sexual violence.”

“Every woman I spoke to in every place pretty much told me that what they wanted was justice. But I think that that means different things to different people; not all of them [meant] that they actually wanted a trial and to see their perpetrator convicted and put behind bars. In some cases, what they really wanted was actually acknowledgement of what had happened to them and that they didn’t do anything wrong, that somebody had done bad to them. Also, they needed help because in many of these places there is no counseling. They are often ostracized in a community so they have no way of making a living and they end up destitute and living in terrible condition—all because somebody did something terrible to them. It’s extremely sad [...]. The international community needs to do more.”

“Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who as you know has died sadly recently, had once said that ‘women belong in all places where decisions are being made.’ I believe that very strongly because […] there have been successes recently in domestic courts. I have to say that the International Criminal Court in 20 years has only convicted one person for sexual violence last year and that’s it, which I think is appalling considering the widespread use of it around the world. Every case I found where there had been a successful conviction, there had been a woman on the bench—a women judge or a woman prosecutor—so it clearly shows that there needs to be more women represented in courts.”

“Nothing is going to change unless there is a real focus of powerful people on it. Yes, you have got all these brave women on the ground who are fighting years to try to bring cases and occasionally succeeding but it's a very small percentage of the total. For things to really change, it needs international leadership, and I think that it is possible to make it quite clear that it is completely unacceptable in the 21st century that this is going on. It is not something that should be happening.”


Hosted By

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Asia Program

The Asia Program promotes policy debate and intellectual discussions on U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific as well as political, economic, security, and social issues relating to the world’s most populous and economically dynamic region.   Read more

Brazil Institute

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Environmental Change and Security Program

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Latin American Program

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Mexico Institute

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