Angelina Jolie Says Violence Against Women Causes 'Human Suffering'

Angelina Jolie has long been known for her activism, most notably, for organizations that provide for those stricken by poverty or disaster in third world countries.

But at last week's biannual African Union Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, the actress and mother of six tackled another issue close to her heart: women's rights.

The 40-year-old delivered a speech during the event, addressing major global power players including African Union chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and British foreign minister William Hague.

In her speech, Jolie focused heavily on violence against women, arguing it's our responsibility to not only recognize violence, but put an end to it.

She said,

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 a lower priority. Women and girls are bearing the brunt of extremists that revel in treating them barbarically. This is inextricably linked to our overall failure to prevent and end conflicts worldwide, which is causing human suffering on an unprecedented level. We need policies for long term security that are designed by women, focused on women, executed by women. Not at the expense of men or instead of men, but alongside and with men.

The actress emphasized the importance of the communal effort, explaining women's rights shouldn't be only a female concern, but a social one.

She concluded by insisting there is no movement too small, and that change begins not globally, but on the individual level, within communities and eventually spreads outward.

Check out a video of the actress's powerful speech here.

Citations: Angelina Jolies Powerful Speech On What Women Really Need From Men (Huffington Post)