Rape Victims in Kosovo during War
ENGL 135 Advanced Composition
April 20, 2009
We all are aware of the suffering that war brings in people’s lives. War means losing everything you hold dear. War means losing your childhood home, war means losing your husband, wife, child, brother, and sister. During the war in Kosovo there were a number of brutal actions performed towards the Kosovo population physically and emotionally. The Serbs knew exactly what these people valued the most in their lives. That is honor. Among other inhuman and degrading acts executed towards the Kosovo people during the war, the Serbs used rape as a tool to destroy not only the women as individuals but also their families to the core. According to McKinsey (1993), there were an estimated twenty thousand females raped during the war in Kosovo. That is a large number considering that population of Kosovo is a little over two million people. The Kosovo population had been trying to gain their independence for almost a decade. They were only asking for their rights: the freedom of speech, the right to send the children to schools where they can learn their own language, the freedom of media, and the freedom of living in their own country without fear. This is their country and they were only asking for what was theirs. According to the U.S State Department report (1999), the Serbs started an “ethnic cleansing” campaign that was meant to remove all the non Serb population out of the country. The most gruesome acts towards these people started to get worse after NATO troops bombed the Serb military points on March 24, 1999. Serbs decided to punish the people by forcing them out of their homes, burning their houses, torturing them, raping them, and killing them. Rape was the main weapon used against the Kosovo women to terrorize and weaken the entire population. Shenon (1999), reports on these gruesome activities that were taking place in Kosovo: “The department's report said that refugee accounts suggested that Serbian forces had executed more than 4,000 Kosovars, and that surveillance photographs taken either by satellites or airplanes had identified seven possible sites of mass graves. The report said that rapes of Albanian women were being reported in increasing numbers, with systematic mass rapes apparently carried out in the cities of Djakovica and Pec.” To understand the consequences that rape has in the lives of the Kosovo people, we have to understand how they are raised and the beliefs that are engraved in them throughout the years. The people of Kosovo value family and country more than their own lives. The young girls are raised to believe that their role in the world is to get married, have children, and take care of the chores around the house. There is a distinguished difference the way these people lived their lives. Men were the bread winners and women were there to raise the children and take care of the house. If there was male company in the house, the females would only serve them and go to their rooms until the company left. One of Dr. Alakija (2000) reports explains how a team of males was greeted only by Kosovo males, and when a team of females went to investigate they were greeted by females. It is not appropriate for strange males to discuss with the Kosovo females even to get their testimony. Another important part of these people’s lives is marriage. Dating outside marriage is prohibited in their culture and the girl should not lose their virginity until she gets married. The girls that had pre marital relationships are called unfit for any man to marry. So after knowing these facts we can only imagine, what rape means to these people. The women lose their purity after being touched by another man even though it is not their fault. No man would come close to them for the rest of their lives. They would live...