CULTURE

Angelina Jolie Calls for an End to Sexual Violence Around the World

“It is hard, but it is not impossible.”


Danny Martindale/FilmMagic/Getty Images

While most eyes have been focused on the seemingly never-ending allegations of sexual harassment and assault by powerful men in Hollywood, Angelina Jolie would like for us to think about this issue on a global scale. In her keynote address at the United Nations Peacekeeping Defense Ministerial Conference in Vancouver on Wednesday, the actress shared her dream of living in a world where there’s no more sexual violence, and explained what she thinks it’ll take to make her dream a reality, according to the Huffington Post.

After listing the many U.N. acts and resolutions dedicated to ending sexual violence, Jolie, a Special Envoy for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said, “We have to ask: How is it, after all these years, all these laws and resolutions and all the horrors endured, women still have to ask for this most basic of all entitlements, the right to a life free from violence?” She continued, alluding to the recent accusations that have rocked Hollywood, “Sexual violence is everywhere—in the industry where I work, in business, in universities, in politics, in the military, and across the world.”

She noted that while men are affected by sexual abuse, too, it has an undeniably greater impact on women. “It is recognized by the U.N. as one of the prime reasons why women remain in a subordinate position in relation to men in most parts of the world, and as a critical obstacle to achieving women’s equality and our full human rights,” the mother of six said. “Ending gender-based violence is therefore a vital issue of social justice in all nations. And confronting its use in its most extreme form, as a weapon of war, is essential to future peace and security.”

Jolie, who once reportedly worked with the International Criminal Court to take down Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, went on to address and debunk several myths surrounding sexual violence: That rape and assault are just “some kind of exaggerated sexual need,” that sexual violence is a “lesser crime,” and that there’s nothing we can do to put an end to sexual violence. “It has nothing to do with sex. It has everything to do with the abuse of power. It is criminal behavior,” she added. “Sexual violence is a weapon, used to deliberate effect, to achieve military or political objectives. It is cheaper than a bullet, and it has lasting consequences that unfold with sickening predictability.”

In response to the notion that sexual violence is impossible to completely erase, Jolie said, “It is hard, but it is not impossible. We have the laws, the institutions, and the expertise in gathering evidence. We are able to identify perpetrators and those responsible. What is missing is the political will.”

The Academy Award winner previously spoke out about the sexual abuse in her own industry last month, when the initial reports exposing Harvey Weinstein‘s decades-long history of sexual harassment and assault first surfaced. “I had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth, and as a result, chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did,” Jolie told the New York[Times](https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/10/us/gwyneth-paltrow-angelina-jolie-harvey-weinstein.html?_r=0) in October. “This behavior towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable.”

See Angelina Jolie’s Beauty Transformation Through the Years

Angelina Jolie at the premiere of Playing God in New York, New York, October 1997. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Angelina Jolie at the Screen Actors Guild awards in Los Angeles, California, March 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Angelina Jolie at the premiere of Original Sin in Los Angeles, California, July 2001. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Angelina Jolie at the premiere of Beyond Borders in New York, New York, October 2003. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Angelina Jolie at the premiere of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow in Hollywood, California, September 2004. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Angelina Jolie at the premiere of Mr. and Mrs. Smith in Los Angeles, California, June 2005. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Angelina Jolie at the premiere of Ocean’s Thirteen at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Photo by Getty.

Angelina Jolie at the 14th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on January 27, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Getty

Angelina Jolie at the 81st Academy Awards in 2009. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Steve Granitz

Angelina Jolie at the Salt premiere in London, England, August 2010. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Angelina Jolie at the 84th annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 2012. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Angelina Jolie at the 2012 Golden Globes. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Photo by Getty Images.

Angelina Jolie at the premiere of Maleficent in Hollywood, California, May 2014. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Angelina Jolie at the premiere of Kung Fu Panda 3 in Hollywood, California, January 2016. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Angelina Jolie arrives to the The Breadwinner premiere at 2017 TIFF held on September 10, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Michael Tran

Angelina Jolie attends The 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 7, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Daniele Venturelli

Angelina Jolie attends The 23rd Annual Critics’ Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on January 11, 2018 in Santa Monica, California. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Jon Kopaloff

Angelina Jolie attends the EE British Academy Film Awards held at Royal Albert Hall on February 18, 2018 in London, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Samir Hussein

Angelina Jolie attends a Service of Commemoration and Dedication marking the 200th Anniversary of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George at St Paul’s Cathedral on June 28, 2018 in London, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Max Mumby/Indigo

Angelina Jolie attends the premiere of Disney’s Dumbo at El Capitan Theatre on March 11, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Steve Granitz
1/20