Once a year, the international community remembers women are not only victims: they also have agency.
Close your eyes and imagine a victim of war crimes. Now image the lawyer helping that person obtain justice. Odds are, you were thinking of a woman in the first case and a man in the second.
Widows mourning their disappeared husbands; women fleeing conflict; mothers struggling to protect their children. Sadly, the imagery of the vulnerable female is alive and kicking.
That women are more likely to experience certain forms of violence is undisputable. But this fact occults another, non-conflicting reality: that women are part of the solution, too.
Not only victims
We women at TRIAL International are the living proof that helping victims of international crimes is no male prerogative. We represent 60% of the NGO’s workforce and 70% of program management. Some of our most senior legal advisors are women.
We meet victims face to face. We listen to their stories in all their gruesome details. We work long hours. We travel to remote, sometimes dangerous locations. We go head to head with governments. We fight for others’ rights.
On the field too, the women we work with defy patriarchal norms. 37% of the victims we fight for are women. Far from being simply “victims”, they are strong individuals, defending their rights with courage and dignity. From activists to doctors and experts, journalists to investigators, our female partners are many. Their work and dedication commands admiration.
We hope that one day, empowered women will no longer be the exception, but the norm, and that more female lawyers, prosecutors and judges will be part of the game.
Women’s rights are paramount and inequality should be fought tirelessly. It must and will be fought by women. By us.
The women of TRIAL International