'My body matters': Rape survivors speak out at UN

” My Body Matters””: Rape survivors speak out at the UN

The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a text aimed at combating sexual assault and providing access to justice for victims of such abuse.

'My rape matters, my body matters': Rape victims took their message to the UN on Friday, where the General Assembly passed a 'historic' resolution on access to justice survivors of sexual violence.

In a text adopted by consensus, the General Assembly urges States to take effective measures, within the framework of their national legal systems and in accordance international law, to enable victims and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence to have access to justice, remedies and assistance.

The resolution, greeted with cries of joy and applause, stresses in particular the importance for victims of quick and unimpeded access to justice, the need to strengthen international cooperation and the importance of the protection of women's rights in general.

The General Assembly has never passed a stand-alone resolution that recognizes rape in peacetime, it's a historic day, Amanda Nguyen, founder of the organization, told AFP. x27;NGO Rise, which has been fighting for this text for years to make the voices of the 1.3 billion survivors of sexual assault heard around the world.

I wanted to be an astronaut, I didn't want to be an activist, but here I am. And the clothes I wore when I was raped are on display here, the 30-year-old activist continues.

Pants, shorts, more or less covering dresses, and even a little girl's swimsuit: from mid-July until Friday, 103 mannequins were displayed in the hall of the UN headquarters.

An exhibition called What were you wearing? to denounce the guilt too often blamed on the victims of sexual assault.

On behalf of the EU, Czech Ambassador Jakub Kulhanek hailed the determination of survivor organizations to push the resolution adopted on Friday.

Beyond Trauma told him Even survivors too often face unacceptable barriers to accessing assistance, justice and reparation, he added.

We know that we must do more to eliminate sexual violence in the world, this landmark resolution brings us closer to this objective, commented for his part during the debate the American representative Jeffrey DeLaurentis, noting however that the text does not create rights or obligations in international law.

But even if this UN resolution can be seen only as symbolic, it is a powerful symbol , believes Amanda Nguyen. Because we are there, we shout. We say our rape matters and you need to recognize it.

All victims or survivors of sexual assault matter, added Jessica Long, a 43-year-old American assaulted on a trip abroad and who explains that she has never been able to get recognition her rights.

We are fighting with you, the world is fighting with you, she said in an interview with AFP, feeling privileged to be able to be a voice for those who don't have one because of their age, gender, race, where they were born.

Many defenders of the text, presented by Sierra Leone with the support of some fifty countries, hoped that it would be adopted without the shadow of a reservation by all the Member States. But Nigeria, supported by several other delegations, including Egypt, Malaysia or Iran, tried to modify the text.

All its amendments which called for the deletion of references to sexual violence within the couple, to gender-based violence, or to access to contraception, were however largely rejected.

We are asking people not only to understand that the stigma of rape must be abolished, but also to look in the mirror and ask themselves: 'What did I do about it? ", said Amanda Nguyen.

We are over a billion people on this planet whose rights had not been recognized here, he said. -she says. And today they are.

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