News 10 Jun 15

Dresses Donated for Kosovo War Rape Victims

The donation of dresses is part of a campaign to raise awareness for victims of sexual violence during the war, who remain marginalised in Kosovo society.

Besa Maliqi
Donating dresses in Pristina. Photo: BIRN.

People came to donate dresses for sexual violence victims in Pristina’s Zahir Pajaziti Square on Wednesday as part of the awareness campaign called ‘Thinking of You’, organised by the National Council for Survivors of Sexual Violence in War and the artist Alketa Xhafa-Mripa.

The campaign has been running in towns all over Kosovo for the past month, and Valmira Rashiti from the Youth Initiative for Human Rights said she had donated dresses in each town where it was held.

"It is a kind of commemoration, a kind of symbol that expresses a kind of embodiment of the pain and all the things the women experienced during the war," Rashiti said.

Saranda Keqekolla also gave a dress that she bought after the war, saying it was the least that could be done for victims of wartime rape.

"I do not think that is enough, but the best thing is that it has started," said Keqekolla.

The dresses will be used for an installation by Xhafa-Mripa which is to be exhibited in Pristina’s sports stadium on Friday.

Last year, 15 years after the war ended, Kosovo’s parliament voted to offer legal rights to wartime rape victims by changing legislation that grants benefits to war victims and veterans. However a government commission is still drafting regulations for the verification of claimants and the exact benefits they will receive.

There is still no accurate estimate of the number of women and girls who were raped or suffered other forms of sexual violence during the Kosovo war.

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