Bosnian Drama Tackles Stigma of Wartime Rape


A new play aims to address the prejudices and social stigmatization faced by people who were raped or sexually assaulted during the Bosnian war, its director Anes Osmic explains. Many of those who survived sexual assaults during the conflict still deal with social stigma and prejudices, and many have not told their loved ones what they suffered for fear of negative reactions. A study published by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in June 2015 said that wartime rape survivors are “marginalized in every aspect of life.”

Osmic’s play is based on the UNPFA research. He said that he chose yellow boots as its symbol because they represent choosing life, joy, and the future rather than guilt, doubt, and the past. “The performance is based on real testimonies from all three ethnic groups [Bosniak, Serbs, and Croats] from all parts of Bosnia and clearly shows how the survivors were treated in families, the community, by doctors and social workers and in the neighborhood,” the director said. After the show, the whole team has a conversation with the audience, during which they stress that the general public is the source of the stigma that damages victims’ lives.

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Balkan Insight