Angelina Jolie denounces 'epidemic of violence' on women, world indifference in Africa speech

Angelina Jolie says 'women and girls are bearing the brunt of extremists that revel in treating them barbarically.'Reuters

Award-winning actress Angelina Jolie Pitt denounced the "global epidemic of violence against women" and the world's apparent indifference to this when she spoke at the African Union Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, last week.

Speaking in her capacity as the Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugee, Jolie Pitt told the summit delegates that the global community should see the need to resolve issues on violence and the violation of human rights of women around the globe.

The summit delegates included African Union chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and British Foreign Minister William Hague.

"There is a global epidemic of violence against women both within conflict zones and within societies at peace and it is still treated as a lesser crime and lower priority," Jolie Pitt said.

"Women and girls are bearing the brunt of extremists that revel in treating them barbarically," she added. "This is inextricably linked to our overall failure to prevent and end conflicts worldwide, which is causing human suffering on an unprecedented level."

She described the women victimised by global conflicts she encountered as resilient, dignified, and strong in the face of trials and dangers, saying they are very much unlike those who have never experienced to be violated in any way.

Jolie-Pitt—a mother of six, of whom three are adopted—concluded her speech by giving recommendations to the problems facing women.

"We need policies for long-term security that are designed by women, focused on women, executed by women," she said, "not at the expense of men, or instead of men, but alongside and with men."

She said men should be employed in movements that empower women's rights, adding that this boils down to the individual.

She also stressed the importance of educating today's women. "There is no greater pillar of stability than a strong, free, and educated woman," she said.