CHAIR – Aleksandra Szefer
CO-CHAIR – Jakub Matyjaszczyk
TOPIC - „No means no.”
What measures can be taken by UN to reduce the number of the crimes such as the acts of sexual harassment taking place in India?
„No” is an adverb, a word that can be defined as „a negative used to express dissent, denial, or
refusal, as in response to a question or request”. The definition can be found in any dictionary. By
using this word people can express that they do not give their consent to something that has been
requested or something they have been asked for. The word „no”exist in every language. But
apparently, it does not exist for everyone.
I am happy to welcome you all to our debates and I feel honoured to work with you as a
chairperson once again. This year work in the Human Rights Committee is not going to be easy. You
are going to discuss a serious matter, which is sexual harassment towards women all around the world.
Sexual harassment is not only rape. It is also molesting, catcalling and acts of domestic violence that
can be categorized as sex offence.
While researching our subject, I came across a term such as „the rape culture”. Emilie
Buchwald, the author of „Transforming a Rape Culture” defines it as „(…) a complex set of beliefs that
encourage male sexual aggression and supports violence against women. It is a society where violence
is seen as sexy and sexuality as violent. In a rape culture, women perceive a continuum of threatened
violence that ranges from sexual remarks to sexual touching to rape itself. A rape culture condones
physical and emotional terrorism against women as the norm (…)”. In a nutshell, according to Women
Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW) Rape Crisis Centre, „rape culture is a term that was
coined by feminists in the United States in the 1970âs. It was designed to show the ways in which
society blamed victims of sexual assault and normalized male sexual violence.” I hope it will only
make you think what society we are and what we have become that such words as „rape” and
„culture” are being set together to form a term that defines modern social behaviours. We are
surrounded by acts of sex offence more than we think we actually are and many of them stay ignored
Men and boys are victims of rapists too, this subject is not supposed to make them seem minor
or less important. Every life matters and every victim is a victim. However, statistics show that women
and girls are far more exposed to acts of unfounded, bestial violence than men, just because they are
female. Talking about statistics, most of the rapes remain unreported because of the frequent
stigmatization of the victims. In many cultures women that have been raped are condemned and
socially marginalised. In your discussion you should not forget about the incidents that are constantly
taking place in India. According to different sources, the frequency of those crimes is growing and has
reached an unthinkable number of several dozen rapes per day. The lawyers of the offenders say that
women that had been raped were the one to put the blame on.
My task is not to give you the way in which you have to think. The fact is that no matter of
your gender or the country you represent, you should make a choice that is not political but moral. I
wish you fruitful debates and good decisions. In times like ours, there is no place for being hunted like
an animal, for being afraid or feeling worse. Dear delegate, now it is your turn to raise your voice for
those who are not able to do it, your turn to break the silence.
I am looking forward to meeting you all and hearing your new, fresh ideas.
Aleksandra Szefer, the chairperson of the Human Rights Committee