Don’t forget about the women and girls

It’s impossible to be here in Bosnia, hearing these stories of the Siege of Sarajevo, and not think of the United States and its current political climate. It’s impossible to be here in Bosnia, meeting survivors of the genocide, and not think about Philando Castile, Nabra Hassanen, Charleena Lyles, and all the people who have been “othered” by the United States for being black, brown, or a woman. Or for being black or brown and a woman.

It’s also impossible to be here in Bosnia, learning about Srebrenica and the massacre of more than 8,000 people (mostly men and boys) and not think about the conscience silence surrounding the mass rapes and sexual violence committed against Bosnian women during the war. Our time has almost come to an end here, yet so far, I have noticed that any mention of this intense sexual violence is only mentioned in passing. Genocide doesn’t happen over night: it is slow, like a frog gently boiling to death in a pot of water. And just like genocide, rape camps don’t happen over night. It is estimated that over 60,000 women were raped from 1992-1995.

The Serbs used these rape camps to humiliate women and to create fear amongst them; some women were even raped to death. Some women were raped repeatedly, by several men in the span of minutes, hours, days, weeks, or months. Some young girls were raped. Some old women were raped.

It is still incredulous to think that little has changed in this world in regards to genocide and sexual violence.

Here’s some more information.

“Bosnian Girl” by Šejla Kamerić. Based on graffiti found on the barrack wall of Dutch UN peacekeepers who were in charge of protecting the refugees of Srebrenica.

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