Angelina Jolie Leads Biggest Ever Global Anti-Rape Summit

Illustration for article titled Angelina Jolie Leads Biggest Ever Global Anti-Rape Summit

Today, Angelina Jolie kicked off an international summit that aims to address sexual violence in conflict zones. You know: real light, breezy stuff.

Jolie, along with British Foreign Secretary William Hague, presided over the opening of the four-day summit in London, which will involve more than 100 countries and discuss ending sexual violence during conflict.

UN Special Envoy Jolie has visited victims of wartime sexual violence in Bosnia and in the DNC. Her 2011 directorial debut, In the Land of Blood and Honey, is set during the Bosnian civil war of the late twentieth century. During that conflict, experts estimate that 50,000 women were raped. According to AFP, Jolie was so moved by the plight of survivors there that she worked for two years to make this summit — the largest of its kind to date — a reality.

As she opened the conference, Jolie said she and Hague had discussed a woman they met in Bosnia, who was still too ashamed to tell her son that she had been raped.

"This day is for her," said Jolie. "We believe it truly is a summit like no other."

Standing next to her, Hague told reporters: "This will be the greatest concentration of effort, of discussion and decision ever seen in combating sexual violence in conflict."


US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is attending the summit, has echoed Jolie and Hague's sentiments, calling for an end to legal protection for perpetrators of conflict-related sexual violence.

I'd imagine that somewhere, George Will and his creepy wig are furiously writing a column about how it can't really be that bad.

Image via AP

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A Small Turnip

My godmother, a kick-ass, no-bullshit, straight-talkin' dame who works for the UNHCR, has precisely zero tolerance for celebrity dilettantes and tragedy-fuckers. Over the years, she's bluntly told any number of high-profile self-aggrandizers to jog on. So when she mentioned, after she first worked with Jolie in Pakistan about 10 years ago, that the actress was a total pro, I believed her. My godmother said Jolie was quick on the uptake, asked smart questions, listened hard, and got the hell out of the way when asked to.

I'm not any particular Angelina fan, but I developed a genuine respect for her after hearing that. I admire people who are compassionate enough to want to help, but even more than that, I appreciate people who can marry that altruism to reason, competence and sensible practicality. It's not all that common.