Sophie Turner’s Game of Thrones character Sansa Stark made headlines for a controversial rape scene in 2015. Following the public’s outrage over the scene, Turner saw an opportunity to open a dialogue about sexual violence as a weapon of war, she wrote in an essay for the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“I wondered why people feel so impassioned to speak out about a fictional rape when this happens all over the world every day,” she wrote.
Turner is now Patron for Women for Women International, an organization that helps women survivors of war to rebuild. She traveled to Rwanda, where an estimated 500,000 women suffered systematic rape and roughly a million people were killed in a 1994 genocide. On her trip, Turner visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial and also met with women who had been personally affected by the violence, many of whom are enrolled in Women for Women’s life skills and business training program. “The women I met in Rwanda have inspired me in so many ways,” she wrote.
“In a time where it seems a lot of focus is being placed upon domestic issues and concerns, it’s important that we draw some attention to the people who aren’t able to publicize the horrors that are occurring or have occurred in their own countries,” Turner wrote. “Ultimately, I hope to help [Women for Women International] build their network and raise much needed funds to help more women survivors of war.”