Cyprus will remain committed to fighting sexual violence in war, Commissioner for Gender Equality Josie Christodoulou said on Friday.

Christodoulou made the remarks at an event titled “Rape as a weapon of war: The case of Cyprus and the International Legal Aspect,” held on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict.

According to UN data, 3,688 cases of conflict-related sexual violence were recorded in 2023. Christodoulou said that, “In 95% of cases the victims were women or girls and in 5% men or boys.”

“The above UN figures demonstrate the urgent need for mobilization and coordinated action around the world, both to prevent violence and to effectively manage cases where it occurs,” she added.

The commissioner also referenced sexual violence during the 1974 invasion of Cyprus, commenting that “women’s stories and testimonies have been silenced by our entire socio-political system.”

She added that “women were victims of rape and sexual violence, victimised again by society, which punished them with exclusion and discrimination.”

Christodoulou announced upcoming training for “frontline” officers to better handle incidents of violence. She also affirmed the country’s support and implementation of the relevant UN resolutions, including Resolution 1325 on “Women, Peace and Security”.

Concluding, she condemned acts of sexual violence as not only criminal and traumatic but also a disgrace to modern global society.