Only 10-15% of victims of sexual violence in the war have claimed their rights

ZAGREB, 13 Feb (Hina) – It is estimated that only 10-15% of victims of sexual violence in the Homeland War have claimed their rights so far, it was said on Tuesday at a round table where the competent institutions exchanged experiences regarding the prosecution of perpetrators and the exercise of the victims’ rights.

“That violence happened three decades ago, but the victims are still there, and many of them have not told anyone what they went through,” activist Nela Pamuković from the “Rosa” Centre for Women Victims of War said at the opening of the event.

The round table, focusing on the strengthening of cooperation in matters of sexual violence in war, was organized by the “Rosa” center and it brought together representatives of ministries, the academic community and civil society organization. British Ambassador Simon Thomas also participated.

Pamuković said the turning point was the Law on the Rights of Victims of Sexual Violence Committed during the Armed Aggression against Croatia in the Homeland War, passed in 2015, which sent the message that society finally recognized the trauma of war rape victims.

Since 2015, “Rosa” has supported more than 30 women, most of whom are older today, who live in smaller towns and so far have not told anyone about their trauma. Pamuković presented the information that since 2015, about 300 requests for acquiring the status of a victim of sexual violence in the war have been submitted.

UNDP’s sociological study from 2013 estimates that the number of victims of more severe forms of sexual violence from the Homeland War could be between 1,500 and 2,200. The above data indicate that only about 10 to 15 percent of victims have submitted requests for the status of victims of sexual violence, of which almost a third were rejected, says Pamuković.