In recent years it has increasingly been acknowledged that in addition to the devastating personal consequences of rape, widespread sexual violence and rape in war have an immense impact on families, communities and societies at large.

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Women often do not report sexual violence as this may result in stigmatisation, and the women may be blamed for being raped and lose their families and ties to the community as a result. When rape results in pregnancy, however, it cannot be hidden. Although it is known that pregnancies occur and children are born as a consequence, the existence of rape-related pregnancy in war has found little attention so far in academia, humanitarian interventions, or post-conflict reconciliation.

This conference offers a first step in mapping key concepts and issues on war rape victims and children born of rape, perpetrators and communities and the dynamic between these actors based on current knowledge.

By analyzing a specter of aspects in different cultural, historical, juridical, social and political contexts we expect to achieve a better understanding of which short- and long-term national support systems and international humanitarian interventions and policies are required, both in order to prevent the use of widespread rape in war and to deal with the individual and societal consequences of rape.

The conference is opened by Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict.