Sexual violence campaigners awarded 2018 Nobel Peace Prize

Sexual violence campaigners awarded 2018 Nobel Peace Prize

By Luke Vargas   
Published
2018 Nobel Peace Prize winners Denis Mukwege [1] and Nadia Murad [2]. [1] UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe, [2] UN Photo/Evan Schneider.
2018 Nobel Peace Prize winners Denis Mukwege [1] and Nadia Murad [2]. [1] UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe, [2] UN Photo/Evan Schneider.

'The nature of this abuse is that the victim feels guilty, the victim gets a stigma, and the victim will not speak,' the head of the Nobel Committee said Friday.

UNITED NATIONS – A Congolese doctor renowned for treating victims of sexual violence and a young female Yazidi who spoke out about her rape by Islamic State soldiers have been awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize.

Physician Denis Mukwege founded the Panzi Hospital in 1999 and has subsequently treated thousands of women and men assaulted over the course of the Congolese civil war and ongoing violence in the region. He was performing a surgery Friday morning when he received news of his award.

Fellow prize winner, 25-year-old Nadia Murad, gained international attention after telling reporters visiting an Iraqi refugee camp of her capture, rape and enslavement by the Islamic State during the terror group’s attempted purge of the Yazidi religious minority.

“The nature of this abuse is that the victim feels guilty, the victim gets a stigma, and the victim will not speak.”

Berit Reiss-Andersen chairs the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which awards the peace prize.

“Denis Mukwege has through many years tried to speak on behalf of his patients who are victims. Nadia Murad is extraordinary in the sense that she used her personal experience as a platform to speak up about this kind of atrocity that is really of a nature where you hardly believe how is it possible, how can people do these things.”

Asked if this year’s prize relates to the ongoing #MeToo movement, Reiss-Anderson said in both cases it’s important that women speak up.

But she also distinguished a campaign aimed at “addressing how men and women interact in civil society” with acts of violence that often amount to war crimes, including crimes targeted at men, as when the U.S. military forced Iraqi prisoners to perform sexual acts during interrogations at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison.

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