Jolie is using her star power to bring global awareness to issues and events that are important to her, and, quite frankly, issues that should be important to everyone. Jolie attended the African Union summit on Thursday in South Africa to speak about the global need for a stronger effort to end violence against women in war as well as in non-war zones.
Jolie is a United Nations special envoy on refugees and has advocated on behalf of women and refugees before the U.N. Security Council. Here, she delivered a powerful speech about the urgent need to halt the "global epidemic of violence against women, both within conflict zones and within societies at peace."
Jolie said, "The near-total impunity that exists worldwide for crimes against women, in conflict zones in particular, means that we are seeing more and more armed groups turn it into their weapon of choice. Women and girls are bearing the brunt of extremists that revel in treating them barbarically. This is inextricably linked to our overall failure to prevent and end conflicts worldwide, which is causing human suffering on an unprecedented level."
According to the United Nations, there are almost 700 wars and armed conflicts being fought across the globe right now, and the World Health Organization says situations of conflict, post conflict and displacement may exacerbate existing violence and present additional forms of violence against women.
The actress told a packed house about victims she has met having "extraordinary resilience, dignity and strength in the face of trials that would break any of us."
She said, "They are some of the most formidable and impressive people I have ever met and they deserve better than to be left alone to suffer... We need policies for long-term security that are designed by women, focused on women, executed by women — not at the expense of men, or instead of men, but alongside and with men."
Globally, according to the WHO, 35 percent of women experience sexual or physical violence.
Jolie did end her speech with some worlds of encouragement, giving a road map of sorts to a brighter future, saying, "There is no greater pillar of stability than a strong, free and educated woman, and there is no more inspiring role model than a man who respects and cherishes women and champions their leadership."
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