Survivors United for Action, the first global network of its kind, aims to connect and support survivors and lobby policy-makers
By Liz Ford
Jineth Bedoya Lima was a journalist covering the conflict in Colombia in 2000 when she was kidnapped, tortured and sexually abused by paramilitaries.
In 2009, she went public about her experiences and established the It is Not Time to be Silenced campaign to support women who have experienced sexual violence in Colombia.
“One day I was a victim, when a group of men attacked my body, soul and life. But today, I am a survivor, and in my face you need to see the faces of the millions of women around the world who have suffered the same as I have,” she said at the launch of what is believed to be the first global network for women who have experienced rape and gender violence in conflict.
“Survivors are raising their voices to support all women who have suffered these crimes against humanity. But we can’t do this alone, that’s why we are demanding commitment from all our governments.”
Four Nobel laureates joined survivors and the Norwegian and Dutch foreign ministers to launch the Survivors United for Action networkon Thursday at the Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict summit in London.
Among them was Jody Williams, who was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1997 for her work to ban landmines. While working in El Salvador in the 1980s, she was sexually attacked by death squads.