Vukovar, 3. April 2012
The Outreach Programme’s documentary ‘Sexual Violence and the Triumph of Justice’ was screened in the east Croatian town of Vukovar on 3 April to an audience of senior government officials, ambassadors, diplomats and representatives of various NGOs.
The event was organised in co-operation with the United Nations in Croatia and the City of Vukovar, with the support of the Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia.
The screening was followed by a roundtable discussion on issues raised in the film. Two Croatian women from Vukovar, victims of sexual violence committed by Serb forces, recounted repeated incidents of rape, torture and sexual degradation. Their heart-wrenching tales moved several listeners to tears.
“My first rapist was sentenced to three and a half years in prison, but he is on the run, hiding in Serbia…When I see my second rapist in town, he just laughs at me,” one of the women said.
According to Documenta, a local NGO that monitors war crimes trials in front of national courts, 17 such cases so far have contained elements of sexual abuse of civilians or prisoners of war.
This prompted Eve Ensler, a Tony award-winning playwright, to deliver an emotional plea to the Croatian authorities during the roundtable, asking them to empower victims of sexual violence, and to help them to overcome their plight, 20 years after the war.