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Sexual violence committed during the Kosovo war continues to remain an open wound in the hearts of the Kosovo society. It is a sensitive topic which urgently needs the institutional attention for the citizens that are in most need. Today, victims within Kosovo continue to face judgement, bias and shame because of these tragic events.
Through the EU funded project “Promoting and Protecting Human Rights in Kosovo through active Civil Society” the EU aims to heal this wound and by doing so improve the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Kosovo.
As part of the EU support of approximately 275.000 Euro, our partners, Kosovar Institute for Policy Research and Development (KIPRED) and Artpolis Association Group for Legal and Political Studies (GLPS), set up the forum theater play “Stigma: Claim Your Right”. The play directly deals with heartbreaking traumas and aims to decrease discrimination towards victims of sexual violence.
The theater premier of 2017 was performed for female prisoners at the Women’s Correctional Facility in Lipjan/Ljipljan. Due to its popularity, over the past two years approximately 2000 visitors have visited the performance across Kosovo and participated in the forum discussions. Overall it was a broadly supported initiative which brought together institutional representatives, the civil society, students and other citizens.
The direct and active interaction between actors and the audience is what makes the play “Stigma: Claim Your Right” special. Throughout the performance the audience can ask questions, and by doing so obtain new information and challenge the (often discriminatory) views of the actors.
Due to the interactive discussions between the audience and actors, the play challenged the current mentality and attitudes towards victims of sexual violence and managed to promote a revolting spirit. Moreover, the play raised awareness concerning the Ombudsperson Institution, by actively speaking about its mandate, focus, and responsibilities. In this regard we can already see positive outcomes, since the Ombudsperson Institution has started to receive requests and inquiries from victims of sexual violence during the Kosovo war.
Ultimately, the play achieved to challenge the commonly held discriminatory and judgmental beliefs towards victims of sexual violence during the war in Kosovo. For the future the EU stays committed to support initiatives like “Stigma: Claim Your Right” and keep raising awareness concerning sexual violence and human rights in general.