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  • jamiehagen

Reporting on LGBT survivors of conflict-related violence

Updated: Jun 1, 2020

This month the website Women Under Siege published my piece about gender-based violence targeted against LGBT individuals. I originally started working on the story as an Op-Ed in my Gender, Marginalization and Health course, a Gender Consortium of Women's Studies class team taught at MIT by faculty from three different universities with differ

ent backgrounds. The GCWS courses offer an amazing opportunity to study with faculty and students from many different Boston-based institutions so I highly recommend you take one should you have the opportunity!

Iraq is just one of eight countries in which homosexuality is punishable by death. More than half of those nations, including Iraq, Iran, and Nigeria, qualify as conflict and post-conflict countries. Yet it’s rare to see media mention of this kind of violence, which is also gender-based, when it covers war and iniquities. Little has been formulated in the way of action plans to stop this type of violence, either, despite efforts like those of the commission and organizations like MADRE. To date, there’s not much out there in terms of a nation’s stepping up to respond to this violence in Iraq or elsewhere around the globe. International protection measures to address LGBT-targeted violence—which, as in Leyla’s case, can be state-sponsored—require a response that recognizes that gender-based violence includes cases like this.

I encourage readers to read this and other pieces on the Women Under Siege website, a Women's Media Center "journalism project that investigates how rape and other forms of sexualized violence are used as tools in genocide and conflict throughout the 20th century and into the 21st."

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