When I visited a refugee registration centre in Lebanon recently, I heard stories of young children who have been through shocking experiences. Syrian boys and girls have fled conflict, lost their homes and watched friends and family members being killed. And now these children are facing another threat - the often hidden horror of sexual violence.
The constant bombardment of messages that disapprove female sexuality and jubilate male sexuality creates confusion about what sex and sexuality really mean. As author of 'The Lolita Effect' M G Durham, wrote "I despise the social double standards that celebrate boys' 'studliness' and condemn girls' desires."
Recently the debate about the age of consent has flared up in the United Kingdom again. Is 16 the right age or does it do harm to children and adults alike? An argument that I haven't seen raised very often, but one that I have believed in for a long time points out that the age of consent is a much more complex issue.
According to the latest UN statistics, of the total population affected by Typhoon Haiyan, an estimated 47,600 women are at risk of sexual violence. In the evacuation centres, an estimated 2,250 women are also at risk. We know that disasters impact men and women differently - but how can we get better at factoring this into account in international aid efforts?
Sexual violence has been a central feature of the conflicts that have raged through the region for decades. Thousands of men, women and children are affected each year in activities that constitute war crimes under the Geneva Conventions.
It goes without saying that preventing sexual violence in conflict is not an easy task. The declaration adopted yesterday represents an important step at the political level, which should not be sniffed at. Yet how it translates into action in the DRC peace process, and in funding for those working to prevent and respond to this violence on the ground, will be the test of its rhetoric.
The pardoning of Marte Delelv validates a system that does not protect women and spreads stigmatisation of women who report rape. Authorities should have quashed the conviction, provided reparations for any suffering caused and publicly committed to ensuring protection for victims of sexual violence. By failing to do so the fear must be that there will be many more cases such as this one.
In April this year Angelina Jolie and William Hague announced that the G8 nations had agreed a historic commitment to work together to stop rape and sexual violence in conflict... The UK has expended a great deal of diplomatic energy on this issue... The problem is that we found no evidence of any activities, determined or otherwise, to stop rape in Zaatari camp.