LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie said she hoped Britain’s first academic centre devoted to women, peace and security studies would benefit millions of girls, like an Iraqi teenager she met who had been kept as a sex slave by Islamic State.
Opening the centre at the London School of Economics – the first of its kind – on Tuesday, Jolie recalled the 13-year-old girl she spoke to in Iraq three weeks ago, who was held captive by Islamic State militants and repeatedly raped.
The girl may never finish her schooling, get married or have children because rape was considered shameful in her society, Jolie said.
“There is no stable future in a world in which crimes committed against women go unpunished; in which young girls are unable to reach their potential, where children see their mothers disrespected, violated and murdered,” Jolie said.
“Where it is considered acceptable for a husband to reject his wife and the mother of his children because she was raped, or normal for a woman to be forced to marry her rapist.”
The actress, joined by former foreign minister William Hague, said she hoped research done by the centre would produce hard data on sexual violence in war and find ways to end impunity for crimes that take place in war zones.
Jolie and Hague hosted a global summit on sexual violence in conflict last year to press for the rights of victims.
(Reporting by Katie Nguyen; Editing by Ros Russell)