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BIRN’s Film Shown in Zenica

Friday, 28.11.2014 (10:05-13:00)

A documentary “The Silent Scream” produced by the Balkans Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN of BiH, about the victims of sexual abuse during the past war was screened in Zenica on November 28.

Edward Ferguson, Ambassador of Great Britain to Bosnia and Herzegovina, BiH, said that society had to create conditions enabling survivors not to feel guilty.

Sabiha Husic, “Medica” Director and winner of “The Woman of the Year – 2014” award, said that survivors kept quiet, because they were afraid of what people would think about them and because they thought that they were not supported enough.

“Instead of pointing our finger at perpetrators, we point it at victims. All of us are obliged to show understanding and respect towards each survivor irrespective of his/her place of residence. There is no unified law at the level of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Our country has not enabled equal rights to all victims,” Husic said.

She pointed out that, thanks to help from Great Britain, “Medica” managed to open a telephone line - 080 02 23 34 for assistance and support to survivors of war rape and sexual violence.
“The telephone number will be available to all survivors on the territory of the entire country 24 hours a day,” Husic said.

Richard Rogers, an international law expert, pointed out that vulnerability of survivors was one of the main reasons for not reporting these crimes.

“We can see this in relation to other crimes, which are not associated with shame or sexuality,” Rogers said.

Sebiha Turkanovic from Kozarac said that she spent nearly six months in Prijedor detention camps.

“I opened Trnopolje and closed Omarska. I live alone in Kozarac. War criminals live close to me, but I tell to myself: ‘Nobody can harm me’,” Turkanovic said.

Zihnija Basic has kept quiet about his experiences from the detention camp for 18 years.

“The fact that you do not have the right to work, life or reparation in the environment in which you live is painful and miserable. Some NGOs are the only ones helping both men and women. No medical therapy can cure what we have insides us,” Basic said.

The documentary was previously shown in Sarajevo, Mostar, Banja Luka and Brcko as part of presentation of an international protocol on documenting and investigating sexual violence in conflicts.

“The Silent Scream” points to problems facing victims of sexual abuse today. Some of them include: different rights, including the inability to achieve the status of civil war victims and inability to get reparations, as well as non-processing of those responsible of the crimes.

The film gathered the survivors of sexual abuse of various ethnicity, gender and age.
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