SEMA members speak out with one voice against stigma, violence, and impunity

SEMA, the Global Network of Victims and Survivors to End Wartime Sexual Violence, currently represents survivors of conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) from 26 countries ranging from Africa and South America to the Middle East and Europe. With tremendous courage, survivors have come together to speak out, tell their truths, and to seek solutions for themselves and their communities. SEMA provides a safe place for them to share the experiences that have for so long been hidden and ignored, call for the changes needed to end the violence and achieve justice. 

The SEMA Network was established in 2017 with the support of the Mukwege Foundation, an international organisation that supports survivors’ demands for a world where sexual violence as a weapon of war is no longer tolerated. Since then, SEMA members have been joining key international and national discussions on peace and security. They influence policies and programmes, by advocating for changes in how we address sexual violence in conflict.

The SEMA Network enables its members to share experiences, to learn directly from one another, sharing best practices. Members support one another, and strengthened are better able reach out to those still suffering in isolation. Every survivor in this network knows the weight and cost of the stigma they face, and this awareness continues to fuel their resolve to work in solidarity to break the silence, improve victims’ access to care, and end the impunity of perpetrators.

SEMA members identified their key objectives

  • Maintaining a safe international platform for victims and survivors to come together, learn from each other and strengthen one another.
  • Recreating the narrative on wartime sexual violence through various advocacy activities and memorialisation tools.
  • Breaking the silence and raising awareness about the causes and consequences of CRSV, as well as the continued use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.
  • Advocating for the end of sexual violence used as a weapon of war, and demanding the rights of survivors, including access to justice and holistic care.