Tribune | Noemi Dalmonte Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Specialist UNFPA Côte d’Ivoire

Noemi Dalmonte
Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Specialist
UNFPA Côte d’Ivoire.

 I have been working exclusively on the fight against gender-based violence in humanitarian emergencies for more than three years now. I arrived in Côte d’Ivoire on March 8 (2009, 2010, 2011?) and I have been working for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) as a GBV specialist since then.

Back home in Europe for a short leave at the beginning of May (2010 ? 2011), one of my best friends asked me how I was still able to “manage” such a difficult job. In fact, she was concerned about the risk of secondary trauma, caused both by living in a conflict situation and by the possibility that I might identify a little too much with a rape survivor, being a woman myself. This identification between me and the many survivors I encountered every day in my work could indeed be a very heavy burden for me… A burden that could prevent me from continuing and make me want to give up my work.

At that moment, I was not able to give an answer to his question…

Between January and May 2011, in Côte d’Ivoire, more than 325 cases of rape were committed, of which 71 were in the west of the country and 132 in the district of Abidjan. More than 40% of these rapes were perpetrated by armed men, both militia and regular army soldiers. In 2010, a relative period of peace, less than 3% of sexual violence was committed by combatants. The comparison of the data is astonishing, sad, distressing and exhausting. This finding will have serious consequences, not only on the survivors of these acts, but also within the families, communities that suffered them and within Ivorian society as a whole, in one way or another…

On the subject of rape during wartime, an idea, accepted by many, is circulating. It is based on a 3-part logic (syllogism):

  • “Côte d’Ivoire is plunged back into violence”
  • “During periods of war, sexual violence is normalized.
  • Therefore, “it is normal that in Côte d’Ivoire, sexual violence has been used as a weapon of war!

I categorically reject this logic, I cannot accept it! The justification of the increase of sexual violence, its use to humiliate opponents and sow terror during a given conflict is simply, legally, ethically and viscerally unacceptable. From the depths of my heart, I feel the urgent need to act, to make the voices of all these victims heard so that everyone has the courage to say “never again! This is the idea of justice that motivates me and gives me the strength to continue this struggle. I owe this commitment to the women and girls of Côte d’Ivoire. Their courage, gives me the courage to continue and if as a woman, I can perceive a very small part; of their immense suffering and that gives me the strength to continue and well, it is so much better!

It is time to act, to commit ourselves, all together, to fight against this silent scourge that destroys so many lives. Here is the answer I will give to my friend the next time I see her!


the online magazine

Similar items

Pas de pauvreté

Éliminer la pauvreté sous toutes ses formes et partout dans le monde.

No poverty

End poverty in all its forms and everywhere.


Éliminer la faim, assurer la sécurité alimentaire, améliorer la nutrition et promouvoir l’agriculture durable.

Zero hunger

Éliminer la faim, assurer la sécurité alimentaire, améliorer la nutrition et promouvoir l’agriculture durable.

Bonne santé et bien-être

Assurer une vie saine et promouvoir le bien-être pour tous à tout âge.

Good health and well-being

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Education de qualité

Assurer une éducation de qualité exclusive et équitable et promouvoir les possibilités d’apprentissage tout au long de la vie pour tous.

Quality education

Ensure exclusive and equitable  quality education and promote lifelong learnig opportunities for all.

égalité entre les sexes

Assurer l’égalité des sexes et l’autonomisation de toutes les femmes et les filles.

Gender equality

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Eau propre et assainissement

Assurer la disponibilité et la gestion durable de l’eau et de l’assainissement pour tous.

Clean water and sanitation

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

Energie propre et D’un coût abordable

Assurer l’accès à une énergie abordable, fiable, durable et moderne pour tous.

Affordable and clean energy

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

Travail décent et croissance économique

Promouvoir une croissance économique soutenue, inclusive et durable, le plein emploi productif et un travail décent pour tous.

Decent work and economic growth

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

Industrie, innovation et infrastructure

Construire des infrastructures résilientes, promouvoir une industrialisation inclusive et durable et encourager l’innovation.

Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

Inégalités réduites

Réduire les inégalités entre les pays et au sein des pays.

Reduced inequalities

Reduce inequalities among and within countries.

Ville et communautés durables

Rendre les villes et les établissements humains inclusifs, sûrs, résiliants et durables.

Sustainable cities and communities

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Consommation et production responsable

Assurer des modes de consommation et de production durables.

Responsible consumption and production

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Mesure relatives à la lutte contre les changements climatiques

Prendre des mesures urgentes pour lutter contre le changement climatique et ses impacts.

Climate action

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

Vie aquatique

Conserver et utiliser durablement les océans, les mers et les ressources marines pour le développement durable.

Life below water

Conserve ans sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

Vie Terrestre

Protéger, restaurer et promouvoir l’utilisation durable des écosystèmes terrestres, gérer durablement les forêts, lutter contre la désertification, stopper et inverser la dégradation des sols et mettre un terme à la perte de biodiversité.

Life on land

Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

Paix, justice et institutions efficaces

Promouvoir des sociétés pacifiques et inclusives pour le développement durable, assurer l’accès à la justice pour tous et mettre en place des institutions efficaces, responsables et inclusives à tous les niveaux.

Peace, justice, and strong institutions

Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

Partenariats pour la réalisation des Objectifs

Renforcer les moyens de mise en œuvre et revitaliser le partenariat mondial pour le développement durable.

Partnerships for the goals

Strenghen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.