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Countess Sophie of Wessex is lending her support to Angelina Jolie and her initiative to fight sexual violence

By Ale Russian
March 07, 2019 03:35 PM
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Angelina Jolie attends Fighting Stigma through Film
Credit: Andrew Parsons/i-Images/Zuma

Angelina Jolie is getting royal help in fighting against sexual abuse.

Countess Sophie Wessex announced on Thursday that she would be joining Jolie and support her Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI), which was set up by the activist and actress along with former British foreign secretary William Hague in 2012.

Wessex, who married Queen Elizabeth‘s youngest son Prince Edward in 1999, made the announcement the day before International Women’s Day.

“Against a backdrop of ugly headlines for women, revelations of sexual exploitation, and the abuse suffered by those in war zones, it is easy to overlook the pioneering work of change-makers,” Wessex, 54, wrote for British outlet the Telegraph. “Brave women that stand for progress, even when their physical security and basic aspirations are under threat. Only when women and men work alongside each other as equals will the world see sustained improvement in conflict resolution and a reduction in sexual violence in conflict.”

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Jolie, 43, has been a vocal supporter of fighting against sexual violence in war since starting PSVI, and most recently spoke at a film festival put on by the initiative in London in Nov. 2018. Wessex was also in attendance.

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 festival featured 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 came 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.