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Angelina Jolie spoke in British parliament on Tuesday, updating U.K. politicians on the Sexual Violence in Conflict Committee to update it on the progress made over the last few years.
The actress and campaigner used the opportunity to describe how ISIS is using sexual violence as “policy” that the world had not seen before.
“The most important thing is to understand what it’s not: it’s not sexual. It’s a violent, brutal, terrorizing weapon and it is used, unfortunately, everywhere,” she said.
“The most aggressive terrorist group in the world today knows what we know; knows that it is a very effective weapon and are using it as a centerpoint of their terror and their way of destroying communities and families and attacking, destroying and dehumanizing.”
But it was the actual use of rape within ISIS’ methods that Jolie claimed was the most shocking discovery.
“This is what is beyond something we have seen before. This is actually put into their policy,” she said. “They are saying: ‘we should do this, this is the right way to build a society, so we tell you to rape’.”
Jolie described meeting a 13-year-old Iraqi girl who had been repeatedly raped, along with her friends.
“They told me that what was even worse than the physical violence was that they then had to stand in rooms and watch their friends be sold and to hear about what they were worth. Were they worth $40? $50? What was their value? … It made her question what she was worth.”
The actress — whose directorial debut In the Land of Blood and Honey gave a graphic depiction of how rape was used during the Bosnian War — has been a long-standing campaigner against sexual violence in conflict zones, co-chairing a global summit on the issue last year and launching an initiative in the U.K. three years ago.
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