The Website is Under Construction

This is beta version of ARDD's website

الموقع تحت الإنشاء

النسخة التجريبية من موقع النهضة العربية (أرض)

Women in Wars and Conflicts: A Sword with a Hundred Edges


In every war, armed conflict, and aggression against the security and safety of people and the dignity of their lives, eyes turn to women and girls. According to international reports, mass rape of women and girls remains the weapon of choice in a third of current armed conflicts.

While emphasizing that systematic sexual violence against women and girls is one of the oldest weapons in war, the United Nations issued Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security and other successive resolutions to protect women and girls in conflicts and beyond, and to give women themselves a role in these conflicts to protect their communities and rebuild them after wars end.

However, these mechanisms have not been sufficient to halt the wheel of war that has claimed many victims among women and girls, especially in our Arab region and globally. The annual report of the Secretary-General for 2023 recorded 3,688 verified cases of conflict-related sexual violence, reflecting a significant increase of 50 percent compared to 2022.

In Sudan alone, about 6 million people face the threat of gender-based violence, and violations against women and girls in the Gaza Strip continue to exceed red lines. The occupation has used sexual violence against Palestinian women and prisoners as a systematic strategy to crush the Palestinians’ hope for liberation, intimidate society, and demolish its dignity. The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor confirmed receiving new testimonies about Palestinian detainees from the Gaza Strip – including women and children – being subjected to severe torture and degrading treatment, including nudity and sexual harassment or threats thereof, calling for urgent international action to stop these violations.

Horrific investigations and testimonies of women survivors of wars in the Arab region confirmed that they were subjected to rape and forcible indecent assault, often in front of family members. These investigations have shown that these atrocities do not stop at any age. Both girls and boys are exposed to harsh conditions, including the risk of gender-based violence.

Although the numbers of women and girls who are victims of armed conflicts are increasing, the actual figures are much higher because survivors avoid reporting due to fear of harassment, feelings of guilt and shame, or fear of revenge. The scarcity of protection and treatment services during wars and conflicts, coupled with anxiety and depression paralyzes the victims’ ability to act properly often driving them to hide for the rest of their lives or resort to suicide, especially in the absence of psychological support and long-term treatment.

Therefore, the world designated June 19 as the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, to commemorate the day in 2015 when the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1820 (2008), recognizing sexual violence as a tactic of war and a threat to peace and international security. These tactics are rooted in colonial practices of controlling oppressed communities. This day stands as a reminder to show solidarity with all those affected by this horrific and dangerous violation of human rights and renew the commitment to combating it by taking comprehensive measures to prevent it and protect women during conflicts.

On this day, we also salute the steadfastness and strength of women and girls in the Arab region who, despite facing enormous challenges daily, continue to stand up for their rights, support each other, and advocate for justice. Therefore, women are described as a sword with a hundred edges. In all countries affected by wars and conflicts, women have been at the front lines, defending their dignity and their communities’ dignity, and providing protection and support to others.

We call on the international community to exert all efforts to end wars and conflicts and ensure the persistence of peacebuilding efforts to prevent further conflicts, as nothing would stop the marginalization of women in wars, prioritize the protection and empowerment of women and girls, ensuring their voices are heard and their rights are supported. Allocating long-term funding to humanitarian programs that aid women and girls during and after conflicts is crucial to ensuring their recovery from the effects of wars and their contribution to the reconstruction of their societies, equally with men.

At the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD), our Women’s Studies Unit (WSU) at the Renaissance Strategic Center works to promote initiatives that focus on the role of women in peace and security efforts, support human rights defenders, collaborate with civil society organizations, and engage with governments to address structural gender inequality and discrimination. We advocate for comprehensive, survivor-centered services and justice mechanisms that hold perpetrators accountable, stressing the fundamental role of women and girls as key actors in peacebuilding processes.