Since the issue of survivors of sexual violence during the last war in Kosovo is still considered being a taboo for many people, ArtPolis – Art and Community Center, which is also a member of Kosovo Women’s Network (KWN) continues with its activities to advocate against this phenomenon in our country. This center has presented the performance "Stigma – Demand Your Right" in the framework of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence, which on 6 December 2017 was presented at the National Theater. Present were representatives of the country’s institutions, representatives from civil society, students, pupils and others.
Artpolis also presented this show in six Kosovo municipalities, including Lipjan Correctional Center in Peja, Mitrovica, Prizren, and Gjakova while the closing show took place in Pristina.
This performance addresses a rather sensitive topic, that of survivors of sexual violence during the war in Kosovo, which, according to various reports, indicated that are about 20,000 women who have experienced sexual violence during the war.
Through the show were presented lives of two families, one living in Kosovo while the other family living in England. Mira, a show character who was a survivor of sexual violence during the war, had migrated to England after her husband had been killed in the war. She had now created a new life in England but had not yet found the strength to tell her son the horror she had experienced during the war. After her son got acquainted with a girl from Kosovo, Mira comes to Kosovo after 18 years where she met with the girl her son had chosen and with her father. Immediately the father of the girl saw her, recognized her and knowing her story, he asked from her to leave without making bigger issue of it. The characters stayed in their roles and talked to the public. Mira told she was survivor of violence during the war and her son, affected by what his mother had experienced, supported her. Same did the girls but her father did not have the same stance that appeared in a very patriarchal role.
Many of these women, even 18 years after the war, live in miserable conditions. There are women who, because of the unjustly committed violence against them, were forced by their families to marry with mentally ill persons, thus causing to her further psychiatric harm.
The Ombudsman – Hilmi Jashari promised that these women will have his unremitted support and asked other local institutions to carry out with their work with more dedication and the survivors enjoy their rights they belong to.
The message conveyed by this show, among others, presented these women as heroines.
This show was created under the project "Protection and promotion of human rights in Kosovo through active civil society", an EU-funded project managed by the European Union Office in Kosovo under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, implemented by the Kosovo Institute for Policy Research and Development (KIPRED), by the Group for Legal and Political Studies (GLPS) and by Artpolis in partnership with the Ombudsman’s Office.
Also, within the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, the Artpolis, together with the ‘MIQT community’ and support of local gastronomy company Fëfër, organized a civic and solidarity initiative to support women entrepreneurs from Krusha. Initially, FërFër allocated a donation with the necessary gastronomic tools for those women who deal with food business, while all day long, on 9 December, traditional food was cooked and served by these women and a modest amount was collected as a contribution for the small businesses owned by women of Krusha.