Collective memory is one of SEMA’s main working streams. Although it rarely makes the headlines, systematic and brutal sexual violence is taking place in numerous conflicts across the globe, now and throughout history. Yet, in the aftermath of conflict survivors’ voices are often silenced by social pressure to move on and forget the traumas of the past, and by official narratives which paint a picture of sexual violence as the inevitable ‘collateral damage’ of warfare.
SEMA members, survivors of wartime sexual violence, aim to contribute to a new ‘collective memory’ of conflict which connects their struggles with a wider understanding of conflict, sparks debate & challenges our understanding of the impact of conflict and the high cost it places on survivors’ lives.
SEMA members use creative methods to document and memorialise their experiences of sexual violence used as a weapon of war, and are brought together with artists to co-create public interventions and installations. Through art, the members of SEMA seek to convey their messages to a wide audience in order to raise awareness of their realities and stimulate debate and action.