If you have paid any attention to the news in the last few days, you might have heard that Hillary Clinton rose from the dead, went straight to Georgetown University, and ripped apart President Donald Trump’s budget plan. Take it from CNN, The Washington Post, USA Today, or the LA Times. Don’t speak English? What about French or German? While she did make a great point about the dangers of cutting diplomatic spending as proposed by Trump, Hillary’s remarks contained so much more meaning, especially in the context of the event at which she was speaking.
The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security was introduced by university President John DeGioia and Hillary Clinton in December 2011 in an effort to “examine and highlight the roles and experiences of women in peace and security worldwide through cutting edge research, timely global convenings, and strategic partnerships.” This year’s Hillary Rodham Clinton Awards for Advancing Women in Peace and Security recognized three extraordinary women and one equally-incredible man for their efforts in bringing peace to Colombia after years of instability caused by the FARC, a radical, left-wing terrorist organization.
The purpose of these awards was to recognize the role of women in creating peace, and Clinton’s remarks highlighted her belief “that advancing the rights and full participation of women and girls is the great, unfinished business of the twenty-first century.”
In one of her few public appearances since the election, it was only natural for Clinton to take a few jabs at Trump and even more natural considering the event was about women, peace, and security—three essential facets of American life in danger under the Trump administration. Surprisingly, the biggest roast, however, came not from Hillary but Jineth Bedoya, one of the award recipients.
In perhaps the most powerful moment of the event, Bedoya—a Colombian journalist, rape victim, and advocate for other victims of rape, sexual abuse, and violence—took a huge swing at Trump with the final words of the ceremony, a plea that needed no translation. “Este mensaje es para algunos gobernantes del mundo, y es que nunca olviden que la violencia sexual es un delito.” Gaston Hall erupted into applause before the translator could begin saying, “This message is for some leaders of the world, never forget that sexual violence is a crime.”
Indeed, President Trump, sexual assault is a crime. Indeed, President Trump, cutting the budget of the State Department will impede our diplomatic capabilities and threaten our national security. Indeed, President Trump, when women participate in peacemaking and the creation of peace agreements, peace is more likely to prevail and endure. Indeed, fellow Americans, it is of the utmost importance that we continue to support the inclusion of women in diplomatic efforts so that women all around the world may achieve equality. Achieving equality takes time, and there is always more work to be done, but, in today’s political climate, we must prevent the reversal of the progress for which countless generations of Americans have fought.