Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 38th Parliament,
Volume 142, Issue 12

Wednesday, November 3, 2004
The Honourable Daniel Hays, Speaker

3Violence Against Women

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, did you ever have to run for your life? Were you or a loved one a victim of sexual violence while your family watched? Did you ever have to protect your young children from rape? In some countries the demands on women are limitless; but in war, the most insane fantasies have found their expression. When seven soldiers rape a woman or little girl, for them the woman is no longer a human being, she is an object.

Marguerite is 40 years old and a widow. She indicated that in October 2002, two insurgents forced their way into her house at night and raped her. She said:

They took me in front of my children and began to rape me. Frédéric, my eight-year-old son, was very frightened and began to cry and shout. The soldiers turned around, as they were raping me, and shot him dead… Before leaving, they set fire to the house.

This is the reality of many women around the world. Marguerite’s story, among many others, was captured in a report by Amnesty International that illustrates the horror of mass rape in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Honourable senators, last Sunday marked the fourth anniversary of United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 that addresses issues surrounding women, peace and security, including protection of women and girls from gender-based violence, which was the theme of this year’s Security Council open debate of the resolution. When I addressed the Security Council on behalf of the Human Security Network, a group of 13 countries which identify concrete areas for collective action for human security, I said:

We know that hundreds of thousands of women and girls have been raped in situations of armed conflict, and that sexual exploitation continues to be used as a tool of war in many countries.

Honourable senators, as we sit in this remarkable chamber, we must not forget that these atrocities are happening every second of every day and that they can be lessened with the implementation of resolution 1325. As Canadians, we must be vigilant in addressing the issues of gender-based violence and the calls for action in resolution 1325. We owe it to women like Marguerite.