Those attending the LWVBAE Annual Meeting held May 28 heard the Director of the Sexual Violence Program of UC Berkeley Law School’s Human Rights Center speak on “Conflict Zones and Living Rooms: Accountability for Sexual Violence”.
Kim Thuy Seelinger, Director of the program which received the prestigious 2015 MacArthur Foundation Award for Creative and Effective Institutions (a prize of $1 million given to only nine non-profit organizations around the world), presented an overview of the work her program is accomplishing at sites in several places around the globe. The program provides technical assistance in countries, encouraging knowledge exchange, and spreading the lessons learned among them.
She gave illustrations of cooperative work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The sexual violence in war zones does not stop when people come to refugee camps. The camps are far from safe havens.
The Human Rights Center program works with survivor care and assistance, guiding victims from health care to police to legal aid. One of the most important, and long-lasting, aspects is community outreach and education. Through it all, those involved with the Sexual Violence Program are working in countries with antiquated rape laws, suffering and infliction by child soldiers, and the overarching influence of the socio-economic status of women.
“The MacArthur award was very nice, as a vote of confidence in our program, ” commented Ms. Seelinger, “But the real reward comes from seeing the impact of one’s work in diverse ways–so we are constantly striving to keep our work practical”.
Sherry Smith, Program Coordinator 2014-15
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