The Christian Science Monitor

Kosovo's attempt to help wartime rape survivors reopens old wounds

In the nearly two decades since she was raped by Serbian forces during the conflict in Kosovo, Drita kept the crime she suffered a closely guarded secret.

Her husband knew, but he never spoke of it. She registered with a center dedicated to helping victims like her recover, but then stopped going for a time for fear her relatives would see her there and learn the truth. Her family settled in another town, trying to leave the painful past behind.

In February, when Kosovo’s government began recognizing victims of wartime rape, entitling them to compensation, Drita hesitated to apply. But the €230 ($275) a month would help with medical bills, and more importantly, it would be recognition of her years of suffering. The government promised she could apply confidentially. So with the help of the Center for the Promotion of Women’s Rights in Drenas, she completed a grueling application that required her to recount the details of the rape.

Soon after she submitted it in March, the commission in charge of the verification process requested she come for an in-person interview. Drita traveled to the capital, Pristina, where the commission’s office is located on a street full of busy cafes. The

The value of recognition‘If you can’t sleep at night, it’s all worthless’Pressure to get it right

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