Wars always affect the civil population more than the armies that fight them, especially modern wars. Among the civil population, it is women who experience the worst. All the armed actors in any conflict use specific forms of violence against women. The best known examples include utilization of rape as a weapon, domestic and sexual slavery, restriction of liberty to circulate outdoors because of fear of kidnapping and rape, coercion to assume the role of unconditional caretakers becoming the ”warrior’s rest” or “bearing children for war”….The result is that the bodies of women continue to be a field of battle.
Furthermore, it is the women who customarily take on the responsibility of daily life, sustenance and family care in time of war. In a situation of armed conflict, these tasks become risky and difficult, all in an environment that gives priority to military expenditures and loss of basic rights. Women and young boys and girls who are fleeing wars constitute 80% of the millions of displaced refugees in the world. The violence that women suffer in a situation of armed conflict is, therefore, an extreme manifestation of discrimination and abuses that they suffer in times of peace, and of the inequality of power relationships between men and women in the majority of societies.
Likewise, we are concerned and denounce the persistence or increase in crimes of honor that occur in some societies that use religious fundamentalism or customary practice as a way of controlling women.
However, it is the women themselves who live in a situation of conflict who bring light and hope. The networks created among women before and during war time make possible not only the survival of the civil population but, in the search for solutions, have also produced a collection of peace alternatives. For this reason, it should be precisely these networks that are used as a base to recover the social fabric damaged by the conflict, giving them prominence in the peace negotiations and accords (as established in the UN resolution 1325).
As Women in Black against war, we want:
-To make the voice of women heard to express their feelings, needs, proposals and alternatives to militarism and war.
-To demilitarize our forms of feeling, thinking and acting.
-To allot more of the budget for the development of a life with dignity and less for military expenditures.
-To disseminate information about the reality of countries and regions in conflict and violence suffered by women in these countries.
-To construct solidarity networks among women without regard to frontiers, ethnicity, religions….
-To denounce militarization in daily life, local and global.
-Truth, Justice and Reparation so that the horrors of war not be repeated.
…once and for all, may the bodies of women never more be a field of battle.
Translation: Trisha Novak, USA