Editorial: Sexual violence in armed conflict: From breaking the silence to breaking the cycle

Sexual violence has been, and to a large extent continues to be, shrouded in silence. However, the dynamics behind it, including its prevalence and horrific toll on individuals and societies, have been progressively better understood over the last two decades. The conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and the Rwandan genocide in particular lifted the veil and brought to the fore the suffering of women, men, boys and girls, as well as their families and whole communities, as a result of sexual violence.

About the authors

Dr Helen Durham
Director of International Law and Policy

Helen Durham has been Director of International Law and Policy at the ICRC since 2014. She has over 20 years experience in the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Helen has been a Legal Adviser to the ICRC Delegation of the Pacific; Head of Office for ICRC Australia and in various roles with Australian Red Cross including Director of International Law and Strategy and National Manager of IHL. Helen has a PhD in IHL and international criminal law, is a Senior Fellow at Melbourne Law School and worked as the Director of Research at the Asia Pacific Centre for Military Law. She has done missions in the field with ICRC including Myanmar, Aceh, the Philippines and has been involved in international legal negotiations in New York, Rome and Geneva.
Vincent Bernard

Vincent Bernard

Vincent BERNARD is editor in chief of the International Review of the Red Cross, a leading academic journal on humanitarian law, policy and action published by the ICRC and Cambridge University Press. He is also the head of the Law and Policy Forum, which leads ICRC’s engagement with expert audiences interested in teaching, researching and debating international humanitarian law (IHL). The unit runs the Humanitarium conference center in Geneva, the new Humanitarian Law and Policy blog, the IHL online training center etc. Vincent joined the ICRC in 1998 and worked in the field for 6 years in Dakar, Nairobi and Jerusalem. As head of the ICRC’s field communication set-up from 2006 to 2010 he travelled and worked in most of ICRC’s operational contexts. Prior to joining the organization, Vincent studied political science, law and international relations at the Political Science Institute and Law Faculty in Strasburg, The King’s College, London and the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, and taught law at the University of Marmara in Istanbul.