ABSTRACT

Although more than 20 years have passed since the Bosnian war ended, many survivors continue to struggle and to suffer. They still live with the consequences of what happened to them during the war and some of them have little or no help and support. According to Tomkins, ‘Rape, like genocide, will not be deterred unless and until the stories are heard. People must hear the horrifying, think the unthinkable and speak the unspeakable’. 1 Whether and to what extent rape and sexual violence can be deterred is a separate issue that is not the focus of this research. It is crucial, however, that the stories of survivors – and not only their war stories but also the stories of their lives today – are heard and taken seriously. Both the present chapter and the following chapter are constructed from the stories of the 79 men and women who participated in this research. The aim is not to tell their stories for them, but rather to use the stories as a way to present and analyse some of the complex and multiple-stranded long-term consequences of rape and sexual violence committed during the Bosnian war.