Angelina Jolie is lending her international stardom to a meaningful cause at the first ever Global Summit to end sexual violence in London this week.
The "Maleficent" star was joined at the summit in London by thousands of government ministers, military and judicial officials and activists, including British Foreign Secretary William Hague. The June 10-13 summit aims to produce practical action on ending sexual violence in conflict, therefore protecting women, men and children from rape and sex attacks in war zones.
Furthermore, Jolie and Hague vowed on Tuesday to not only help victims, but to punish those responsible. Jolie, a special envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said that the conference was two years in the making before offering a powerful message.
"We must send a message across the world that there is no disgrace in being a survivor of sexual violence- the shame is on the aggressor," she said, according to the BBC.
"We must work together in new and unprecedented ways across borders and religions bringing government and people together and tacking from the problem from every possible angle, and by doing this, we can end the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war once and for all," Jolie added in the opening address. "We really can do it."
Jolie, who first became involved with the UNHCR in 2001 when she traveled to Sierra Leone, took a pledge to end impunity and provide justice and safety for victims of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations.
"It's a myth that rape is an inevitable part of conflict," said the Oscar Award-winning actress, according to Reuters. "It is a weapon of war aimed at civilians. It is done to torture and humiliate people and often to very young children… and as an international community we are responsible for that."
"This whole subject has been taboo for far too long," Jolie added.
Hague said that an international protocol will be agreed on in order to push for international standards on recording and investigating sex crimes.
"We want the summit to shatter the culture of impunity for sexual violence, to increase support for the survivors and change the situation on the ground for the most affected countries," he said.
The three-day summit is taking place at the ExCel centre in London and will see U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in attendance.