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Ending Rape as a Weapon of War

A Multi-Country Initiative

My Body Is Not Your Battlefield

We can end rape as a weapon of war in our lifetime. Momentum is already building towards this goal: world leaders have finally recognized what women’s human rights activists have said for decades. Rape is not incidental to warfare: it is a weapon. It is deliberately used to traumatize women and terrorize their entire communities.

We see this across our work. In Iraq, armed militants have kidnapped, raped and sold women in the towns they have seized. In Colombia, young girls recruited as child soldiers have been turned into sex slaves. When asked why they fled their homes, Syrian women refugees said that fear of rape was a number one reason. And women in Guatemala are still rebuilding their lives after being targeted with rape in the genocide of the 1980s.

Through our Ending Rape as a Weapon of War initiative, MADRE partners with grassroots women's organizations to set up emergency shelters, hotlines and escape routes for women and girls fleeing sexual violence, with a focus on preventing this abuse. And we bring women's voices to policy-making spaces to hold governments accountable to their commitments to end wartime rape. 

Partner for Social Change
  • We collaborate with brave, on-the-ground activists to set up emergency shelters, hotlines and escape routes to rescue women in danger of sexual enslavement and other extremist violence
  • We create refuges for young women and girls to recover from sexual violence and their experiences of war


Help women experiencing sexual violence 2
Advocate for Human Rights
  • We partner with women peace activists, who organize to demand a seat at the table in peace negotiations, so that rape as a weapon of war cannot be ignored
  • We hold leaders accountable to the commitments they have made to end wartime rape


Help women experiencing sexual violence 1

Meet Awaz and Fairoz

In the nearly two years since ISIS invaded Iraq, we’ve heard countless stories of despair. Of entire families killed, of girls and women raped and sold into sexual slavery. It’s easy to feel helpless after hearing such horrific stories.

But amid these horrors, there are glimmers of hope. Take Awaz and Fairoz, for example.

Campaign to Disarm Rape

We can help women experiencing sexual violence and eliminate rape as a weapon of war in our lifetime. MADRE and our allies provide a blueprint for policymakers on how to meet their obligation of protecting and advancing women's human rights. 

Iraqi woman in black and white © Daniel Smith

For More Information

Shelters Without Walls: Women Building Protective Infrastructures Against Rape

Women from Colombia, Syria, Nicaragua and Iraq are implementing multi-layered prevention strategies in their communities against rape being used as a weapon of war, offering immediate protection and countering stigma. read more

What Will It Take to Stop ISIS Using Rape as a Weapon of War?

When so many women have been raped by ISIS fighters, the stigma surrounding survivors is gradually being eroded. read more

Women Out Loud, Episode 1: My Body Is Not Your Battlefield

In this episode of MADRE's podcast Women Out Loud, you will learn how our brave partners in Colombia, Iraq and Syria are addressing wartime sexual violence. 

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