A user-centred approach to helping women survivors of war rape in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Coinciding with the failure of communism all over Central and Eastern Europe and following the death of Marshal Tito, president of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the process of disintegration of the Yugoslav Federation, which was marked by an intense political and economic crisis, took part during the 1980s and early 1990s. Support services for victims were mainly available within the non-governmental sector, particularly women’s organisations, involving psychologists, social workers, and paraprofessionals as service providers. In the post-war period, the status of women survivors of war rape was further complicated by uncertainty, socio-economic hardship, lack of employment opportunities, poverty, and weak implementation of laws and policies related to gender equality. The nature of war rape and its aftermath, in a specific socio-cultural context in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina, made women survivors of sexual violence in war one of the most vulnerable population categories, depending on long-term systematic support structures, continuing treatment, social recognition, and prolonged recovery.