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Rape Crisis is Remembering Srebrenica

11 Jul 2018

Throughout Remembering Srebrenica Memorial Week, from Sunday 8th - Sunday 15th July, survivors of sexual violence from Rape Crisis Centres are writing cards to Bosnian women survivors, an act of woman-to-woman solidarity, in a collaborative project between Rape Crisis England & Wales (RCEW) and Remembering Srebrenica, a UK charitable initiative.

RCEW and its member Rape Crisis Centres are organising and participating in activities and events to show solidarity with the survivors of sexual violence in Bosnia who are still struggling to get support and still fighting for the perpetrators to be held to account.

Today (Wednesday 11th July), Rape Crisis England & Wales joins with Remembering Srebrenica in honouring the courage of ordinary people who resisted hatred and division.

In the course of just one week in July 1995, 8372 mostly Muslim men and boys were murdered by Bosnian Serb forces in an act of genocide. Srebrenica was the final act in a genocidal plan aimed at Bosnian Muslims between 1992 and '95. 

Among the victims of this plan were the 20,000 to 50,000 Bosniak women and girls, who were subjected to sexual violence.  We do not know the exact number of victims, because many have remained silent, through stigma, shame and fear.

Bosnian women broke the silence around sexual violence used against them as a weapon of war. Through the courage of women who dared to speak out about their experiences and fight for justice, rape was prosecuted for the first time under international criminal law.

Di Whitfield, Co-chair of Rape Crisis England & Wales, said:

"The systematic and widespread use of rape as a weapon of war was one of the brutal legacies of the Bosnian conflict. We at Rape Crisis England & Wales know very well the devastation that sexual violence causes to individuals, families and communities. 

As in Bosnia, all too often perpetrators are walking free and the survivors do not get the support they deserve. We too work with survivors who often struggle to talk about their experiences due to shame, stigma, being blamed and not believed.

We commend Remembering Srebrenica’s important work, and agree that we cannot truly stand up to hatred unless we stand up to misogyny in our society."

Dr Waqar Azmi OBE, Chair of Remembering Srebrenica said:

“Our theme this year is ‘Acts of Courage’ which serves as a reminder that hope and the common bonds of humanity can triumph in the darkest of times. We are all invited to draw strength and inspiration from those who, during the genocide and ethnic cleansing in Europe’s worst atrocity since the second world war, were bold enough to resist an ideology of division, protect their neighbours and speak out for truth and justice. The baton of courage has now been passed on.  It is up to us to learn the lessons from Srebrenica”.