Women, men, girls and boys experience and take action differently in the context of armed conflict, peacekeeping, peace building and reconstruction. Contemporary conflicts affect civilian populations in particular, and in this context women have often become strategic targets, sometimes on a massive scale, as when rape is used as a tactic of warfare and ethnic cleansing. Many women and girls also become combatants' domestic and sexual slaves. Women are however not only victims of war and violence. They also play active roles as combatants, peace builders, politicians and activists. The equal participation of men and women in these roles is both an essential goal and means to help prevent and resolve conflicts and promote a culture of inclusive and sustainable peace. There is a close link between the prevention of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and the opportunities made available to women to participate politically, to achieve a sustainable livelihood and to feel secure in their communities during and after conflict.