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The forgotten women of Bosnia

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tuzla women react, violence against women, rape, war, G8Raising funding for a film aiming to shed more light on the issue of sexualized violence.

Persephone Speaks: The Forgotten Women of Bosnia, is (hoping) to be a documentary film looking at the use of rape as a war strategy.

And looking at a survivor’s quest to shed light on the international community’s failure to acknowledge the effects this crime has on women’s lives, long after the war has ended.

‘Hoping’, because it still needs funding. Which is why there is a Kickstarter appeal for money.

We want to make this documentary, Ivana Ivkovic Kelley explains, because females are nonstop targets during wartime, as demonstrated by the mass rapes implemented as a policy of genocide during the Bosnian war.

This atrocity is grossly ignored by the international community and international tribunals.

This film revisits one survivor who continues to fight for justice on behalf of others all over the world.

From her tiny smoke-filled office on the shrapnel-damaged outskirts of Sarajevo, to her monthly sojourns to The Hague, her goal is for perpetrators to be brought to justice.

To this day, war rape survivors continue to join her group, finally sharing their stories with this woman who will ensure their testimonies are heard in the courts in Sarajevo or the Hague.

In many cases, the perpetrators are either awaiting trial or have been rewarded by the Serbian government for successfully running a “camp”, often in the form of a promotion within the local police force.

We have witnessed incidents of this same “reward” behavior in similar conflicts around the world.

In situations such as these, many survivors have expressed anger, fear, and shock, especially when they see their attacker, years later, in high level positions or vacationing beside them on the Adriatic coast, which numerous victims have witnessed.

The main subject of my film, Bakira, takes justice into her own hands when others have given up…and sets out to find where the perpetrators, named in numerous testimonies, now live, subsequently providing this evidence to The Hague and other courts.

This is a critical project – one that needs immediate attention and any support you can give.

It is through projects such as these that light is shed on human rights issues.

The continued treatment of women around the world, especially during times of conflict, needs to be heard through as many channels as possible.

Unfortunately, war rape survivors are often seen as a problem, a by-product of war that needs to be swept under the rug…a reality in many post-war countries.

Our work will be done, Kelley says, when the world comes together to ensure female victims of war are not forgotten and the perpetrators are brought to justice.

Kelley worked interviewing survivors of systematic rape during the war in Bosnia, as well as translating their testimonies and travelling into enemy-occupied territory to deliver food and medical supplies.

She has been interviewed twice by NPR, by a number of domestic newspapers in the USA, and was invited to speak at the University of Stockholm and University of Uppsala during the last year of the Bosnian war.

Not too long ago, she decided to leave her studio job in order to dedicate her time and soul to this project.

She launched the Kickstarter campaign to raise $12,000 for  Persephone Speaks: The Forgotten Women of Bosnia, her first documentary, at the beginning of April.

With your help, Persephone Speaks could be completed by autumn: please click here to donate.



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