For decades, Colombia's armed conflict has pitted government and right-wing paramilitary groups against anti-government guerrillas. Armed groups have especially targeted girls and young women, turning their bodies into battlefields. Disturbingly, this violence is often overlooked. These militants use rape as a weapon to terrorize women and their entire communities. And there's a lack of government programs to meet the needs of survivors.
For the dream of peace to be realized, those who were raped in the war will need healing, justice and an end to the stigma that mars their lives. Women struggle for their needs to be addressed in peace negotiations and to be recognized as leaders in creating lasting peace.
MADRE partners with a local organization called Taller de Vida, one of the few organizations working with rape survivors in war-affected communities. With your support, we provide counseling, peer support and art therapy to enable girls to overcome their experiences of war and trauma.
“Young survivors will know that they are not alone.”
- Young women and girl survivors of sexual violence heal from the traumas they have endured. They find a vital community of support.
- Local and international policymakers are compelled to meet the needs of girls and to confront sexual violence in this conflict.
- Women make official peace negotiators recognize grassroots women's vital leadership in creating more peaceful communities, both in the midst of war and after any future peace agreement is signed.
Taller de Vida provides critical services for displaced Afro-Colombian and Indigenous women and youth. They work with former child soldiers and youth at risk of being recruited in Colombia's decades-long war, and use art and activism to create a peaceful future.
Rape used as a weapon of war. Domestic abuse used to enforce submission. Worldwide, women face violence that strips them of power and agency. It devastates those who are targeted and destroys the social fabric of families, communities and societies. But women are stepping up to stop it.
All photos credit to © Maureen Drennan