"It takes an entire community – male and female – to dismantle the lies, words and actions that foster a culture in which sexual assault is seen as normal," the duchess said on Wednesday

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Duchess of Cornwall
Credit: Peter Nichols/getty

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall is calling on the world to come together to stop sexual violence against women.

As the United Kingdom reels from the recent murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa, among others, Camilla, 74, spoke at a reception recognizing the WOW Foundation's Shameless! Festival in London Wednesday.

In her speech, the Duchess highlighted the need for both women and men to "truly unite to forge a violence-free world".

"We need to get the men in our lives involved in this movement. We do not, in any way, hold all men responsible for sexual violence. But we do need them all on board to tackle it," she said. 

"After all, rapists are not born, they are constructed. And it takes an entire community – male and female – to dismantle the lies, words and actions that foster a culture in which sexual assault is seen as normal, and in which it shames the victim. So let us all leave here today and try and get the men in our lives to participate in building a 'shameless' society."

Camilla also spoke about the "misplaced feelings of stigma" victims of sexual violence often feel afterward.

"The victim feels invaded and dirty; weakened by having been put in a position of helplessness by someone stronger – possibly by someone whom she previously trusted. Often, this sense of shame causes the victim to blame herself, mistakenly take responsibility for the crime, and want to hide away from others. And yet she has done nothing wrong," Camilla remarked.

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"Today, let us resolve to support survivors to be 'shameless' and not to take on misplaced feelings of stigma. Through speaking up about our experiences, we break the wall of silence that allows perpetrators to go unpunished."

During her speech, the Duchess of Cornwall mentioned some alarming statistics pertaining to violence against women, including the fact that "144,000 women were victims of rape or attempted rape in the last year for which these figures are available," according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales. 

"This equates to roughly 16 of the most serious sexual offenses every hour."

She also referred to some of the murder cases to occur in the UK just this year: "Sarah Everard, Sabina Nessa, Wenjing Lin, Geetika Goyal and Bennylyn Burke are names which, with all the others, must never be forgotten."

In mid-September, London primary school teacher Sabina Nessa's murder re-sparked the international conversation around violence against women when her body was found in a park less than five minutes from her home in South London's Greenwich area.

And in March, former London police officer Wayne Couzens abducted, raped and murdered Sarah Everard. Late last month, the confessed killer received life in prison with no parole.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.