“Conflict-related sexual violence” includes rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy, forced sterilization, and any other act of serious sexual violence against women, men, or children who are directly or indirectly associated with a conflict. To this terrible reality we must add that fear and cultural stigma converge so that the vast majority of survivors of conflict-related sexual violence do not report it. Professionals who act in these situations estimate that for every violation reported in connection with a conflict, there are between 10 and 20 cases that remain undocumented.

In 2015 the UN, “observing that civilians constitute the vast majority of people negatively affected by armed conflicts, that women and girls are especially subjected to acts of sexual violence committed, among others, by terrorist and extremist groups, including as a tactic of war designed to humiliate, dominate, frighten, disperse or forcibly resettle civilian members of an ethnic or religious community or group, and that sexual violence used in this way may in some cases persist after the cessation of the hostilities, and recognizing that men and boys are also victims of sexual violence in conflicts” proclaimed June 19 as the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflicts.

The aim is to raise awareness “of the need to end conflict-related sexual violence, honor victims and survivors of sexual violence around the world, and pay tribute to all who have courageously dedicated their lives to the fight to eradicate these crimes and they have lost their lives to that purpose”. The date was chosen to commemorate the adoption of Security Council resolution 1820, on June 19, 2008, in which the Council condemned sexual violence as tactic of war and an impediment to the consolidation of peace.