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.
“We are citizens with the capacity to build peace in our country. Despite this conviction, we have faced critical and difficult times. However, during these difficult times, MADRE has always given us the peace of mind and strength to continue our work. When we speak up and denounce, MADRE is always by our side... We have a commitment to the construction of peace in Colombia. The processes that Taller de Vida has built have allowed for those of us survivors of the armed conflict to empower ourselves and to have the strength and the capacity to be in key spaces in the construction of peace."
- Stella Duque, Executive Director, Taller de Vida
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.
Together with our partners, we help women to heal from abuse and become powerful advocates for every woman’s right to a life free of violence. We build clinics and counseling centers. We equip women with tools to prevent sexual assault in war and disaster. And every day, we affirm that gender violence doesn’t have to be a fact of life.
All photos credit to © Maureen Drennan