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A woman walks among dresses and skirts hanging inside a stadium, in an art exhibition titled "Thinking of You" by Kosovo-born artist Alketa Xhafa-Mripa, representing victims of wartime sexual violence in Pristina, Kosovo on June 12, 2015. (REUTERS/Hazir Reka)

'Male-dominated society'

Allegedly raped by teacher and police for 2 years, a teenage girl’s ordeal brings #MeToo to Kosovo

April 26, 2019

A shocking news story about a teenage girl who was raped by a teacher and a police officer over the course of two years has sparked a “#MeToo fury” in Kosovo, according to the New York Times.

The girl, who has not been identified due to privacy concerns, says she was a 16-year-old high school sophomore when she was “lured” into a sexual relationship with the teacher, the Times reports. When she found out that he was married and had children, she went to the police station to report him. But rather than coming to her aid, a male officer forced her to date him, threatening to tell her parents about the affair if she refused. He reportedly raped her three or four times each week throughout 2018 and, when she became pregnant, forced her to have an abortion against her will.

After details of the girl’s story appeared in the local news site Insajderi this past February, hundreds of women took to the streets to support the teenager and condemn Kosovo’s authorities for failing to protect women. Since Kosovo’s late-1990s armed conflict, peace has been fragile and “domestic issues are secondary” to Kosovo’s bid for statehood, according to the Times. Wartime sexual violence was rampant during the conflict, and survivors of it are often stigmatized by society.

But outrage over the rape case has forced Kosovo officials to take action. Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj has launched an investigation into police misconduct, and the accused teacher and police officers have been taken into police custody. Meanwhile, the gynecologist who performed the girl’s unwanted abortion has been suspended from his job at a hospital.

“As a society, we need to recognize that we have a problem,” said Korab Sejdiu, a lawyer and member of Parliament. “It’s a very patriarchal, a very male-dominated society.”

Read the full story at the New York Times.

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