The Stop Rape Now Campaign

Two years ago, Eve Ensler, Founder of V-Day and author of the Vagina Monologues, addressed a United Nations panel on sexual violence in conflict zones, asking “What is it about rape that isn’t grabbing people’s imagination, isn’t seizing people’s conscience or isn’t getting people to stand up?” As a result of that meeting and subsequent advocacy work by a number of UN-related agencies and governmental actors, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1820, demanding complete cessation of sexual violence against civilians in conflict and post-conflict zones.

On the first anniversary of the resolution's passage, an interagency initiative of the United Nations is ramping up its campaign to seize people's conscience and engage them through a dynamic web campaign that allows participants to demonstrate support for the primary points of the resolution: Mass rape is not a necessary outcome of war; and sexual violence is a security problem that requires a security response, and is not simply a gender issue, but an issue that bears on the sustainability of peace agreements and post-conflict reconstruction.

The campaign's action toolkit is simple and manageable, yet engaging. The most viral part of it is the photo upload action, which in this case is more effective than an online petition would be. Site visitors are asked to participate by taking a photo of themselves with their arms folded in an 'X' and uploading it to a generally geolocated spot on a global map. As more photos are uploaded, the site becomes rich with images of people resisting and supporting with the solidarity of repeated gestures. For an issue that hasn't received the attention and intervention it should have in the past, this campaign is one good entry point to rectify the oversight.

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