As Colombian rebels and the government agree to search for missing, a note on women and conflict-driven sexual violence

At the dawn of a deal between the Colombian government and FARC rebels, in which both sides will work collaboratively to locate the more than 50,000 still-missing Colombians disappeared during five-decade civil war, reflecting on what that conflict has meant for many already marginalized rural women couldn't be more timely. 

While it's not news that women and girls often bear the brunt of war, Foreign Policy reports on the phenomenon in the context of Colombia internal conflict, in which 220,000 people have died and 5 million have been displaced. 

At the same time, the article sheds light on some of the ways in which rural women have sought empowerment. FP reports on one woman, who developed the organization Mujer, Sigue mis Pasos, to raise awareness of the violence women face in contexts of war. Another, also a prominent Colombian journalist, went public about her survival of conflict-related sexual violence.

A recent success for Colombian victims of sexual violence was the passing of a law in 2014, enabling such acts to be considered crimes against humanity. There was also the passing of a 2008 law that permits sexual violence in contexts of war to be viewed as distinct crimes.

But despite these steps forward for women, and the historic agreement regarding location and identification of the disappeared reached late on Saturday, many remote areas of Colombia remain under rebel control. In these regions, including parts of the southern department of Cauca, only a "tense" calm has been achieved, while rebels wait for orders from above.