"Challenging stigma and impunity for sexual violence... is the work of generations," Angelina Jolie says

By Phil Boucher
November 23, 2018 07:45 PM
Neil Mockford/GC Images

Angelina Jolie is continuing to fight for the victims of sexual violence in war.

Speaking at the Fighting Stigma Through Film festival in London Friday, Jolie described the crime as “an urgent international issue,” adding that “changing attitudes and laws, and challenging stigma and impunity for sexual violence in all our societies is the work of generations. It’s all of you, it’s all of us together.”

The Fighting Stigma festival is an offshoot of the wider Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict (PSVI) campaign Jolie founded with former British foreign secretary William Hague in 2012.

It features 35 movies focusing on the discrimination and social stigma faced by survivors of warzone rape and other forms of sexual violence in conflict. The filmmakers come from 14 different countries including Syria, Burma, Russia and Nigeria.

“I can only imagine the kind of difficulties that many of you have faced to get to this point in your lives,” Jolie said warmly to the filmmakers gathered at the British Film Institute on London’s Southbank.

Angelina Jolie and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt
Jeremy Hunt/Twitter

Other attendees included Sophie Wessex and British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Jolie continued, “From the start, PSVI has been about bringing together survivors, civil society and legal experts with [the] government to work together to affect change; not government telling civil society or survivors what needs to be done, but listening to and supporting the voices of the people most directly involved.”

In December, Jolie, 43 — who is working toward a child custody settlement with separated husband, Brad Pitt — will also be bringing her campaigning to British radio.

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On Dec.28 the double Oscar-winner will follow in the footsteps of Prince Harry, Stephen Hawking, Sir Richard Branson and Melinda Gates to guest edit the BBC’s prestigious current affairs flagship Today.

While behind the mic, Jolie will interview a number of high-profile guests about potential solutions to warzone sexual violence and the equally heart-wrenching topic of the global refugee crisis.

“I hope we will be working on this for many years to come,” Jolie told the audience at the BFI, adding that it was crucial to allow “the voices who set the agenda to be those of the survivors themselves.”