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European Federation of Sexology (EFS) declaration in times of war and violence

 

10th November 2023

 

To all our colleagues directly affected by war and warlike conflicts: We hope you and your families are well in these horrible times in the history of human-kind, and we grieve with you by the possible loss of your loved ones.

 

The European Federation for Sexology is to major degree built by professionals in the field of clinical sexology, professionals in sexual health promotion and researchers into the fields of human sexuality and gender.

Many of our members have wide experience in addressing human relation, where the most profound and powerful feelings and emotions like grief, fear, hate and urges for revenge are involved. Many of us are experienced and skilled in assisting groups and individuals who have become victims of sexual trauma both in war and peacetime. We see how actions of sexual violence penetrate the lives not only of the victims themselves, but also their love relations, families, networks and societies.

 

Like many other organizations and communities, we were shocked and horrified by the brutal terrorist attacks on innocent civilians that took place in Israel recently, and our thoughts and solidarity go out to all civilians who are suffering in Israel and Gaza as violence continues to unfold.

We do grieve all the loss of all lives in this and all other wars and conflicts, since all lives are precious.

 

Conflicts of war and violence have always more than two sides. It does include the sides of innocent civilians including numerous children, elders, disabled, women, men, sick and all that are opposed to the use of violence and terror. These voices of despair are drowned by the rumbles of bombs, the smattering of guns and the desperate cries from fellow human beings. Soldiers’ most natural feelings of horror when confronted with the absoluteness of their own death, drown in the “bigger picture” of interests.

Feelings of grief, fear, hate and urges for revenge are very understandable in the conflicts that unfold. We emphasize nevertheless that understandable feelings can never ever justify actions of terror and inhumane violence. Thus far and for far too long conflicts between the peoples of Israel and Palestine have been dominated by use of weapons and power, means that have not brought about what all people need: Peace and harmony.

 

Perverted sexuality used as a weapon primarily targeted at women, but also against children and men, is documented in the present war, like we have seen it in other former and ongoing conflicts.

We condemn all sexuality and gender-based violence as weapons of war, as we condemn violence and terror as such.

 

We acknowledge all peoples’ right to defend their lives and territories against violence, but we condemn actions apt but to sustain and increase the feelings of grief, fear, hate and urges for revenge No real peace no, mutual understandings, no healing of wounds can grow out of such actions.

We strongly believe that terror and violence cannot help achieving a lasting peace built on justice and wisdom, and we deeply hope to see a conflict solving process that can render us pride in our kind.

 

 

The EFS Executive Committee

 

 

 

 

 

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