Searching for Good News in the Fight Against Rape

The Women Under Seige Project aims at raising awareness on the extent of the devastating worldwide epidemic of sexualized violence, particularly in conflict zones. Women, however, are fighting back, and in this article, Shazdeh Omari looks for some positive developments.


We began 2015 by looking at underreported stories of rape and sexualized violence around the world. Cases involving sexualized violence against women—its aftermath, its consequences—were falling below the public’s radar. Now, six months in, we thought we’d take a look at some of the good things that have happened—the steps forward in the march to end sexualized violence globally.

It turns out that this is easier said than done.

A simple Google search yields results that are more depressing than encouraging: hundreds of stories on rape and sexualized violence all over the world. There’s only a handful of any kind of positive developments. It seems very few good things have happened this year in the fight against sexualized violence. But, in the places where good things have happened, they’re worth noting.

Read more by clicking here

The Women Under Seige Project is a journalism project launched by the Women’s Media Center that investigates how rape and other forms of sexualized violence are used as tools in genocide and conflict throughout the 20th century and into the 21st.

Shazdeh Omari is the Associate Editor of the Women Under Seige Project and the news editor at the Committee to Protect Journalists.

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13 Responses to Searching for Good News in the Fight Against Rape

  1. Coral Rajchgot December 3, 2015 at 11:58 pm #

    The Women Under Siege Project is a very important cause seeking to highlight and address sexualized violence in war zones. In spite of the gravity of the subject and the grim statistics, they unearth excellent news items that promote hope to decrease the epidemic levels of wartime rape. They bring up the compensation and justice given to rape survivors of the Croatian independence war, the campaigns to hold responsible UN peacekeepers and British perpetrators alike for sexual violence, and the brave protests of college students to raise awareness of campus sexual violence. While these instances are few-and-far between, in the fight against global sexual violence and violence against women, this project reminds me that hope is a crucial ingredient. Without it, these causes pose no threat to the institutions in place that make worldwide sexual violence an epidemic crime that is rarely handled with true justice.

  2. Chloe Blanchet December 7, 2015 at 9:14 pm #

    The Women Under Siege project is a beacon of hope for survivors of sexual violence. In this article, Shazdeh Omari shines some light on the positive progress that is occurring in multiple countries, where the gravity of wartime rape and sexual violence is being rightfully acknowledged. In Croatia, rape survivors who had been abused during the 1990’s war of independence are being financially compensated, as well as provided with access to counseling, legal aid, and health care. Many UN peacekeepers that have previously been accused of sexual abuse, are being investigated by AIDS-Free World’s Code Blue Campaign, and are working towards creating a clear definition of peacekeeping. Columbia University and Iowa State University have taken matters into their own hands and are promoting hope, and raising awareness through different means such as launching of campaigns that promote safety and security, as well as officially signing three bills that are aimed at reducing sexual violence on campus. The Women Under Siege project is a beautiful movement that is recognizing the severity of sexual violence by highlighting these actions that are being taken to reduce, if not obliterate, an important issue that often lacks proper recognition and justice.

  3. Megan Winnard December 8, 2015 at 1:51 pm #

    This article left me speechless and very emotional. When we hear of rape that usually the end of it. We never really stop to think about all of the things being done against it. I have never even heard of half of these, but its still shocks me nonetheless. Emma Sulkowicz is so inspiring, a lot of people will never admit they’ve been raped, and she went out and did something about it. She MADE them see.

  4. Emilie Battet December 9, 2015 at 1:35 pm #

    Sometimes we truly do not understand how often cases like these occur. It was reassuring to read through this article and see how much awareness is being created in terms of promoting safety and having people realize what is truly going on around them. Rape is never something to be taken lightly and many victims have difficulty coming forward with it as the manipulation into keeping quiet can be done so well. In terms of Emma Sulkowicz, she took the initiative in making her story public and a campaign against sexual violence was launched soon after. It took one girl to have an effect on thousands of people. It is truly frightening to think that sexual violence is something that occurs on a daily basis and how many people have actually been victimized. To think that people are worried about even doing something as simple as walking alone somewhere at night is alarming and shows how much wrong there really is this world. It is important that everyone helps in creating awareness so that we can live in a place where we feel safe and secure in our own surroundings.

  5. Romina Filippelli December 9, 2015 at 2:14 pm #

    The Women Under Siege project is both inspiring and moving. The attached article pleasantly surprised me when I found out what Croatia does through the use of a bill that compensates its citizens who have survived rape. In addition, the Emma Sulkowicz story showed me that rape, which is often dismissed and is taboo to talk about, is something that needs to be seen in order to be taken seriously. Overall, this article proves that rape needs more exposure to be taken seriously, as women often don’t tell their stories, causing rapists to get away with the horrible acts they commit. Women Under Siege does so by raising awareness about sexual violence in war zones.

  6. Helen Tran December 9, 2015 at 8:18 pm #

    People are finally taking rape very seriously and this is a huge step. It took a lot of courage to report rape cases, but when they did most authorities didn’t take any action. I really look up to what Sulkowicz did at her college. She put so much effort to spread an important message and it’s actually making a change. These are the type of stories that give hope to some girls and even guys out there. It is important to spread awareness of this issues. Even though a lot of changes have been made, I personally feel like there’s still a long way to go.

  7. Julia Graziani December 11, 2015 at 12:02 am #

    Rape can be an uncomfortable topic to discuss, for most people. Emma Sulkowicz is a brave women for coming forward with the news that she had been raped.

  8. Sophia Silla December 12, 2015 at 9:43 pm #

    Sexual violence is a world wide epidemic and we must encourage women to report stories of rape and sexual violence, because many women don’t speak up. It is scary to hear of the many rape stories that go unreported because of fear. It is reassuring to here that some police officers are treating cases of rape as serious as terrorist attacks. Croatia passing a bill that will compensate individuals who have been victims of rape during the 1990s war of independence, will definitely help survivor financially, but not so much mentally and emotionally. However, the idea of providing compensation, the movement of brave college student protests and a greater awareness of rape and violence against women is still progress.

  9. Gabrielle Messier December 14, 2015 at 4:54 pm #

    It was a very interesting article. It gave great advice about the actions that have been done to fight against rape. I have been inspired by Emma Sulkowicz because she found concrete solutions to help many women who have been sexually abused. During the reading of this article, I became really emotional because sexual violence is something that affects me a lot.

  10. Brandon Lazarus May 11, 2016 at 10:51 pm #

    After having read the article, “Searching for Good News in the Fight Against Rape”, I am relieved to learn that some progress is being made in the fight against sexual violence and rape in war zones around the world today. Even though the public is mostly uninformed or unaware that this type of atrocity is occurring, mostly due to the media sweeping it under the rug, there are some who are fighting the fight. Croatia has passed new laws to compensate victims monetarily, through “counseling, legal aid and even health care”. The police in Britain have begun treating this type of violence more gravely, on the same level as terrorist threats. Even the United States has become more proactive and has begun campaigns and heightened security around college campuses. There is still a long way to go, but this is definitely a start.

  11. Zakary Dorfman May 12, 2016 at 5:15 pm #

    In reading this article it opened me up to several different cases of rape awareness internationally. I did not realize how many different initiatives were carried out in order to prevent rape from happening and to compensate the victims of rape. One piece from this article that stood out the most to me was the fight against rape in U.S colleges. This is something that occurs quite often as mentioned and more often than not it does not get dealt with. Emma Sulkowicz was a student at Columbia University who was raped and following this she took the initiative to make her story public and to campaign against sexual violence. Her story inspired many other colleges to take initiative in reducing violence. This article proves that the fight against rape is not just being ignored and that as a society we have grown in the fight against rape.

  12. James Houghton May 12, 2016 at 8:21 pm #

    There were two things that really shocked me when reading this article. The first is the problem of rape with UN soldiers. These people have sent out into this unprivileged countries to try and help keep peace and offer security to those who would not have it without them. So I find it so incredibly disturbing that these people are ABUSING their power and doing this to these vulnerable children. But to be honest, we see people abusing their power like this everyday, from police officers to CEOs of big companies. So for me, the rape issues with the UN soldiers is just a fraction of the bigger picture. As a society, we need to realize and try to solve this problem of abusing power and sexual violence, or else I fear that it will just get worse. The second thing that shocks me is the rape problems on college campuses. If I were to send my child to school, I wouldn’t fear that something like sexual violence could affect them! But unfortunately, it is the case, as you can see in this article. Luckily, there are students that are standing up for this cause and all the different movements mentioned in that article are perfect examples of movements that are going to cause change.

  13. Samantha May 12, 2016 at 10:14 pm #

    I think it’s really a good thing that the article discusses not only the negative aspects but the positive one as well. I’ve never really understand rape and the reasons because it terrifies me just to think about the topic. I “raise my hat” to the brave woman who have announced their story and open to talk about it.

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