forgotten women: attacked, raped and made a refugee during the kosovo war, a woman’s life 20 years on - plastic sheet
When Sihana was raped by a member of the Serbian paramilitary forces, she was in a house full of children and women.
The man brought five young women into different rooms.
Just four days ago, one of them had a baby.
"They raped us until they had enough.
"The kids are screaming, the old lady is screaming, we are screaming," Sihana said . ".
The Kosovo War ended 20 years ago, but its impact on the young country was too obvious.
Approximately 20,000 women and girls were raped during the 14-14 periodmonth conflict;
In the past 20 years, thousands of people have disappeared, both ethnic and Serbian.
Sihana-her name has been changed in order to protect her anonymity-sharing her story publicly for the first time to show her experience with thousands of other women and not being relegated to the past.
A Kosovo ethnic Arab Muslim, although economically difficult, is happy with Sihanaenjoyeda.
She was 28 when the war broke out.
She got married to three children, and life was quickly out of control.
Although her husband is an educated person, it is difficult for him to find a job as the institution begins to close down.
They sold the wood to survive.
"Freedom is getting smaller and there is no normal life before the war," Sihana said . ".
According to Dr. Anna Di Lellio, a research and policy analyst specializing in the Balkan region, throughout the 80 s and 90 s, there was a gender targeting Kosovo Serbs and
"Ethnic Arab women are called washing machines because they are" over-sexy "and have too many children," said Dr Di Lellio . ".
"There is a great concern in the propaganda that ethnic Albanian men rape Serbian women, although there has never been any evidence
Such ethnic rape
With years of such rhetoric, "what's happening there really makes sense," she said ".
On January 15, 1999, after years of heightened tension and conflict in the region, Serbian forces attacked the village of Racak in Kosovo, killing 45 ethnic Albanian citizens.
The war officially began in the next month.
"It was a disaster when the war broke out," Sihana said . ".
Thousands of people were killed, including Serbs and Serbs, and property was destroyed.
Similar to Bosnia and Rwanda, the strategy of ethnic cleansing has begun and rape has been used as a tool of war.
"These are the army," said Dr. Dillo.
Organized groups, national armies, allow the removal of territory from a particular group and do so by violence and intimidation.
Sihana's village has avoided direct attacks for more than a year.
Refugees from less fortunate areas will flee to her village with no food and no clothes to wear.
Sihana and her family share very little of what they have and have been worried that they will be next.
"The attack was random and no one knew why a village was attacked," Sihana said . ".
Implementation of natointerment began on March 1999;
The beginning of three-
Bombing campaign against Serbia
"We felt safe when the explosion started-freedom began to come," she said . ".
But a few weeks later, Serbian soldiers came to Sihana's village and removed all of them.
They were forced to leave their house.
Someone was beaten, someone was destroyed, someone was shot.
They were taken to the woods and ordered to live in a makeshift tent.
More than 100 people were forced to stand under plastic plates, Sihana said.
"In that tent, people who saw all the violence were injured and injured.
At night we tried to feed the kids with what was in our hands, but were shooting and yelling all night.
In the morning, without any explanation, the group was moved back to the village.
On the way, they buried the dead.
"It was quiet that night.
The soldiers kept coming back for gold and supplies.
In the end, Sihana had nothing to give, so her husband and other men were rounded up and beaten while the woman was looking.
"My child was in the cradle and the military kicked and he cried for two hours.
They won't let me pick him up.
It was not until night that they determined that the army had left, so these men fled into the woods.
"There are four married women and an unmarried sister, two elderly women and eight children," Sihana said . "
"The old lady tried to protect her daughter --in-
But they hit her with a gun barrel.
They kicked the old lady and brought each of our young women into a different room and raped us until they were full.
"The next day the men came back and decided that they all had to leave to prevent the women from being raped again.
"They said we would be better off if they killed us than what happened the day before.
We lost our dignity.
"The journey was very difficult for the team.
A few days ago, one of the women gave birth to a child-"these women are bleeding and they are in pain and have no food to feed their children.
I wish I was dead.
"They were eventually allowed into a nearby city where they had been there for two months when NATO forces came in.
During this period, they found a woman pregnant for rape.
"It was a great pleasure when NATO forces flew in, because it was chaotic before that.
You never know if this will happen again or if they will come and stab you with their knives.
The woman who translated the Sihana story, Iliriana Jaka Gashi, the director of Women's International in Kosovo, interrupted her with her own experience of war: "Because I am a refugee, I can add a little bit.
We started by saying that the bullets were clean.
If you could get a bullet, you 'd be happy to die.
It's hard because they will come to your family in front of you, dig out their eyes, cut off their fingers and cut off their arms.
Despite the destruction of most of the buildings, Sihana and her family eventually returned home.
"Every time I see the uniforms of NATO soldiers, I'm shaking.
They came and asked my husband, "What's wrong with your wife? why is she so scared?
He would answer: "She saw a lot of terrible things.
The Kosovo War ended on June 1999, but, like all conflicts, it did not necessarily end when the fighting stopped.
"It's been 20 years, but it's a wound that will never heal," Sihana said . ".
Sihana, 49, lives with her husband and five children, but stresses that her life will never return to the past, especially her marriage.
"It's a feeling of both sides-husband and us-that never felt the same.
Sometimes, when you are in the best moment, when you have a lot of love for your husband, the memory will come back and will never be the same again . . . . . . It's not like life.
"There are so many people killed and slaughtered, but I still want me to die.
I can't live with this burden.
"Some women who have experienced sexual violence during the war cannot stay with their families. American-
A lawyer, Elizabeth varaj, said: "In the Kosovo conflict, many rape survivors were left by their husbands, and many young teenage survivors were rejected by their parents for the shame and shame they brought.
It is believed that 20,000 women and girls were raped in the war;
According to an interview with refugee camp refugees by the Atlanta Center for Disease Control in the summer of 1999, a rough estimate is made.
Elizabeth varaj says rape has taken a long time to be seen as a tool of war, not a by-product of war.
However, measures have been taken in recent years, such as pensions for survivors of sexual violence who are victims of war civilians.
The initiative was launched in 2014 but did not take effect until the end of 2018, with registered persons receiving payments of € 30 per month.
Dr. dilelio said: "Rape in Kosovo has been silent at the international level . . . . . . The new law, which provides pensions, now has about 600 women registered . . . . . . This is a small number because a lot of people are still afraid to put their names on the private list.
"Sihana has received payments for several months.
"Things have become easier since I got my pension because I can pay for my medical bills . . . . . . Sometimes when I need to go out-when I feel like I'm really crashing-I have enough money to have coffee with someone and enough money to get out of the world.
As in other territories of the former Yugoslavia, justice for war victims is very complicated.
The research done by Dr. Anna Di Lellio highlighted women's disappointment in achieving accountability and justice, especially in the trial.
"Some women go to The Hague to testify . . . . . . Their identity was revealed to the media-it was over and no one else was willing to testify.
She also claimed that many women were tried and publicly charged with rape, but were not convicted due to lack of evidence or witnesses.
She added: "Kosovo ethnic Albanian women also do not want to see victims of rape in Serbia. . .
They don't think they may have the same experience as them, so you have two types of people in Kosovo who have never shared their experience.
Sihana is angry that "no one has been punished for what happened to her" but has been taking steps to continue her life.
The International Women for Women programme has been in Kosovo for 18 years, with the last six led by Iliriana Jaka Gashi and working closely with Sihana and other women who raped on 1999.
"When they came to us, it was a story they never shared.
In fact, her parents still don't know what happened.
Whenever they need us, we go to the village to help them apply for something.
We can't get rid of their pain, but we will try our best to help them.
Sihana built a greenhouse with sponsorship funds.
By selling produce, she expanded her scale, bought a cow and sold milk locally.
But in 2014 she was sick and still couldn't work.
"My husband worked hard but had a heart attack three years ago.
He continued his work but was still struggling.
Sihana made it clear that she was not alone in the war.
"I think my life is very similar to that of 20,000 women who were raped.
I know there is no more fun in life for those women.
"I only hope that my broken heart will heal.
I just hope I can't hear a woman raped any more.
This is not an argument that one can have-it is a fact.
Women are not protected.
This is because we are not protected.