Launch of the 'Silencing Stigma!' campaign
More than 20 years after the Bosnian war ended, some survivors of conflict-related sexual violence continue to face stigma or to engage in self-stigmatization. While the problem has been widely acknowledged in Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH), few efforts have been made to tackle it.
Today, Professor Janine Natalya Clark has launched a new campaign with the non-governmental organization Asocijacija XY Sarajevothat aims to change this. Together they hope to silence stigma around sexual violence by putting the issue into the open and asking society questions like:
- Do you know anyone who has experienced sexual violence?
- Can you imagine how that person feels?
- What if that person was your mother?
- What if that person was your father?
- What if it was your brother or sister?
- How can society support victims of sexual violence?
- We can understand each other if we listen to each other, get to know each other.
The campaign was launched today on social media and will build towards a day of action planned in Sarajevo on 30 January 2020.
Professor Clark said: “Over the years, I have spoken to many women and men who suffered various forms of sexual violence during the Bosnian war. Some argue that the topic has been over-researched. I disagree. There is always scope for innovation and new approaches, and I hope that our ‘Silencing Stigma!’ campaign will have a positive impact on the ground and make a difference. I am honoured to be working with Asocijacija XY and I thank the survivors who have contributed ideas to this campaign.”
This follows a research project, led by Professor Clark, that has sought to address stigmatization through an emphasis on education and awareness-raising and to contribute to building a more socially-supportive environment for male and female survivors of sexual violence in BiH.