This event took place on February 10th, 2024. Please click here to view the recording or continue reading below for an event debrief. 


Harvard Globalwe


discussion circles



This event took place on February 10th, 2024. Please click here to view the recording or continue reading below for an event debrief. 

A Debrief of the Discussion Circle - Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War and Terrorism


On February 10, Harvard GlobalWE hosted the third event in its Discussion Circle Series titled “Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War and Terrorism” following the sexual atrocities committed by Hamas on Oct. 7, 2023.  Adhering to its core mission, GlobalWE focused on a topic that brings people together around women’s rights as human rights, across politics and culture. GlobalWE members and friends came together with empathy and compassion for violated and subjugated women globally, regardless of where these GlobalWE affiliates stand on any other issue. A recording of the panel discussion can be found at the link below:


We heard from speakers who were knowledgeable about various circumstances:

  1. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, Professor, Bar-Ilan University, on the atrocities perpetrated by Hamas on October 7th,
  2. Heather Tasker, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Queen’s University, on women in Africa who are forced into conjugal slavery during war,
  3. Charu Lata Hogg, Founder and Executive Director, All Survivors Project, on the way patriarchal societies use sexual violence to feminize even male victims in the Midle East and Africa, as feminization is see to be the ultimate humiliation during conflict, and
  4. Annie Pforzheimer, Senior Fellow (Non-resident), Center for Strategic and International Studies, on the subjugation of women in Afghanistan under what is seen internationally as a kind of peace, even though the current state is not peaceful for women.

From our panelists and also from our attendees, we learned that sexual violence against women and girls (and men and boys) during war and for purposes of creating terror is an ongoing, widespread problem across the globe, with so many examples that we could devote an entire SIG just to the problem of sexual violence against women.


After the event, GlobalWE vowed to continue to shine a light on these horrors, and proposed establishing a GlobalWE initiative that will continue to focus on sexual violence in different contexts, as a regular and repeating part of our programming.  


In one breakout room, a participant pointed out that women in the US should understand they are operating from a place of great privilege and that they have the power to help, especially by using technology to shine a light on sexual atrocities against women around the world. This is even more true of Harvard Alumni, men and women, many of whom have the privilege, power, networks, and influence to make a difference. GlobalWE is committed to alerting fellow Harvard alumni and the rest of the world to the many contexts in which women are subjugated, violated sexually, and otherwise used,in the hopes that educating GlobalWE members and friends about these dire problems will lead to change and freedom from sexual violence for women and girls around the globe. We will also continue to introduce our membership to organizations and initiatives who work with and for these women, for those who might want to take action and support their efforts.

If you have ideas for a future Discussion Circle topic or GlobalWE program, please reach out to [email protected].


Our third Discussion Circle will discuss sexual violence against women as a weapon of war and terrorism, including different forms of sexual violence and why they occur, the impact of these acts, and how perpetrators can be held accountable. Examples from the October 7, 2023 attacks in Israel and conflicts in South Sudan, Ukraine, and the Central African Republic, among other nations, will be discussed. A panel of experts will share their research and analysis on this topic, followed by small group discussions.

Discussion Circles is an initiative of GlobalWE to discuss current, pressing news items in a timely manner. We work to empower women by addressing fundamental hindrances to their equality and wellbeing; in the same vein, we want to offer a space to discuss pressing topics of the day in a respectful manner.

We hope you will be able to join us and participate in a robust and meaningful discussion with other people passionate about women’s empowerment.

If you have any questions, please contact [email protected].

Saturday, February 10th, 2024, 12 pm EST, via Zoom. 


Register: Please register below to receive the Zoom details. 


Please register here and acknowledge the ground rules                      



Ground Rules

  • Themes and broad ideas can be shared, but personal stories stay within the room.
  • The expectation that this event is not recorded or to be shared in any way.
  • Share air time and share responsibility for the group's success and well-being. 
  • Treat participants with respect and consideration.
  • Highlight the value of a diversity of perspectives as an essential part of the process.
  • Everyone has come here to learn, grow, and share.
  • Come up with ideas to share on resources about the discussion topics.

Event Details 

Date: Saturday, February 10th 2024
Time: 12 pm EST

Location: Virtual (online) event. Meeting info will be in your registration confirmation email. Click here to Register.
Cost: FREE 

Other Details 

Questions: If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact us at [email protected]
Views: Harvard Alumni For Global Women's Empowerment Harvard GlobalWE is a shared interest group of the Harvard Alumni Association. We are dedicated to the empowerment of women through education, dialogue, and connection among individuals working for women's rights and freedoms worldwide. Harvard GlobalWE does not advocate a specific ideology or political or cultural agenda. We are an inclusive organization with membership open to and comprising all genders.
While membership is free, Harvard GlobalWE accepts donations from members to support its programs and initiatives. To become a member of Harvard GlobalWE, please JoinWE. To learn more, please visit our website and our Facebook group.
The views expressed during our events are solely those of the speaker(s) and participating audience and do not imply endorsement by Harvard GlobalWE and/or Harvard University.