RAPE IS A
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Suffering sexual violence is never your fault - you have a right to security.
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If you or anyone you know experienced sexual violence during the armed conflict in Ukraine and you need psychological, medical, or legal help - contact us.
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We can help you with:
Please contact us if after surviving sexual violence you need medical aid, such as pharmaceutical supplies, medical examinations, pregnancy termination (abortions are legal in Lithuania), or any other assistance.
If you wish, we might assist you in registering your case with the international bodies or national authorities. We will advise on possible remedies and reparations, and accompany you through the investigation as well as evidence gathering.
If you or a member of your family is feeling unwell or has other health issues related to the experienced violence, suffering from anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or eating disorders, speaking with an expert can help in the recovery process.
STORY OF THE SURVIVOR
“My name is Fiki (pseudonym), I was born in 1977, and I am a woman from a village located in the municipality of Tuzla. I am a survivor of conflict-related sexual violence.
During the war, and during our journey and the chaos, nobody could protect us. We were walking through the woods, hiding, there were no police, and then, all the sudden, there were patrols coming. We did not know who they were. We did not know if they wanted to attack us or to help us. I do not know how we could have protected ourselves. If anybody had protected us, there probably would not have been a war, no chaos in which people fled in different directions. You did not know where to go; it was not good anywhere. It is difficult to leave your home when you do not know where to go.
In May of 1992, I fled my village with my mother, brother, and sister. During our journey, we were captured and taken to the Sušica concentration camp, where we were held for 10 days. Dragan Nikolić was the camp manager. One day, Nikolić took me out of the camp, led me to the guardhouse, and handed me over to some people who remain unknown. At the guardhouse, one of the guards kept watch while the other one raped me. Instantly, my mother knew what had happened to me. We did not talk about it. Later, we were released from the Sušica concentration camp. From the camp, we walked all the way to Cerska. When we arrived, we were put up in a local school, where we stayed for 10 days. On our tenth day in Cerska, I went to my house with some Bosnia and Herzegovina Army troops to collect some food for my family and to visit my father who had stayed behind. Upon arrival, the troops took me captive and shot my father dead on his very own doorstep. The soldiers took me back to the Sušica concentration camp where this time I was held for 21 days. There, the camp manager found my name on the list, smiled, and said, “you see, she is back here…” and I was separated and raped again. That time, they brought me to a private house near the camp. The soldiers who took me wore uniforms, but I did not see an insignia on them. While I was at Sušica I also watched the soldiers physically abuse other people. There, I was raped, physically and mentally tortured, and starved by the soldiers. After 21 days in Sušica, I was taken to Pelemiš—to the military demarcation line—and from there I journeyed to Kladanj and then to Živinice. From the time of my second capture and transfer to the Sušica concentration camp, until my arrival in Tuzla, I did not know anything about what was happening with my mother, brother and sister. In 1995, I found them, and together we moved to a neighborhood in Tuzla and rented a house.
One month later, I reported the incident to a doctor and a nurse when they visited the school in Živinice, where I was receiving services due to my status as a displaced person. Upon my arrival in Tuzla, I went to a center where people were providing services to victims of war crimes. There, a gynecologist examined me. Two nurses were also there, and later helped me find an apartment. I shared the apartment that they helped me find with two other women from Srebrenica during the next three years. Upon my arrival in Tuzla, I had access to healthcare services through the center which provided services to the victims of war crimes. At that time, I did not receive any psychological or legal support. It was not before 2002 that the Power of Women Association began providing psychological and later economic support. I have health insurance coverage through my husband, which is the reason I do not need to pay for medical examination.
However, I am always ill. I do not need anything when I am ill, but I am always seeing doctors, taking medicine; I often dream about what happened to me. I am worried, I see images…
After what had happened to me, I felt rejected. I thought that everyone avoided me because of my experience, that nobody needed me, that I was bad. I lost confidence in myself and others. I never sought justice because I do not know who the perpetrators are, which is also the reason it would be nearly impossible to file a lawsuit. To this day, I do not know who my perpetrators were. Dragan Nikolić, who was the camp manager, handed me over to unknown men who were wearing camouflage patterned uniforms. I didn’t notice an insignia. I was too scared to notice anything. I am afraid of the costs of trying to seek justice, and how all of that would look like. I also did not want to launch into the process of filing a lawsuit either. I have the status of a civilian victim of war, and I receive a benefit. Still, I have not exercised my right to compensation.”*
* ‘In their Own Words. Voices of Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence and Service-Providers’, the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, digital book published on June 2021. Accessed on 1 August 2022.