WMC Women Under Siege is a 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. Originated by Gloria Steinem, it builds on the lessons revealed in the anthology Sexual Violence Against Jewish Women During the Holocaust by Sonja Hedgepeth and Rochelle Saidel, and also in At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape and Resistance—a New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power by Danielle McGuire. In the belief that understanding what happened then might have helped us prevent or prepare for the mass sexual assaults of other conflicts, from Bosnia to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, this Women’s Media Center project is exploring this linkage to heighten public consciousness of causes and preventions.

Please click over to WomenUnderSiegeSyria.crowdmap.com for our live, crowdsourced map of rape in Syria, created in conjunction with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. To read more about the map, click here.

We won Deutsche Welle's best Twitter feed for Online Activism in 2013: Come follow us at @WomenUndrSiege, and find us on Facebook here.

WMC Women Under Siege project is funded by contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations. We are not funded by the U.S. or any other government. Any views expressed in opinion pieces are those of the author alone and do not represent WMC or WMC Women Under Siege. WMC is a 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse candidates.


Lauren Wolfe, Director
Lauren Wolfe is an award-winning journalist who has written for publications from The Atlantic to The New York Times. She is also a columnist at Foreign Policy magazine and on the advisory committee of the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict. Previously, she was the senior editor of the Committee to Protect Journalists, where she broke ground on the issue of journalists and sexualized violence. She studied at Wesleyan University and Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, and is the recipient of the 2012 Frank Ochberg Award for Media and Trauma Study and four Society of Professional Journalists awards. In 2013, Foreign Policy named her one of its “FP Twitterati 100,” and Action on Armed Violence listed her as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Journalists Covering Armed Violence.” Find her at laurenmwolfe.com and on Twitter at @Wolfe321.

Shazdeh Omari, Associate Editor
Shazdeh Omari is also the news editor at the Committee to Protect Journalists. Before that, she was the copy chief at The Village Voice for four years. She has worked as a reporter, writer, editor, medical editor, and copy editor in the United States and Greece. Prior to her career in publishing, she taught English at Western Connecticut State University and reported, wrote, and produced radio features as an intern at United Nations Radio. Omari was born in Saudi Arabia and raised in Karachi, Pakistan, where she learned to read, speak, and write Urdu. Follow her on Twitter at @ShazdehZ.


What the media is saying about WMC Women Under Siege:

“A fantastic organization. I urge our viewers to follow you on Twitter because your organization very regularly puts out fascinating reports—depressing—but very interesting to read and stay in touch with.” —Hala Gorani on CNN International, January 10, 2013

“There are so many powerful stories on the Women Under Siege website.” –Xeni Jardin on BoingBoing, “The invisible genocide of women,” February 14, 2012

“A site worth watching… .The new site states its mission bluntly; Women Under Siege looks to be a project with an edge. But there is another reason to visit the Web site: its original content.” —C.J. Chivers on the New York Times “At War” blog, “What We Are Reading: Women Under Siege,” February 9, 2012

“With both the silencing and shame of rape victims a global phenomenon, I found this project moving and inspirational. Go and have a look.” —Jane Martinson on The Guardian’s “Women’s Blog,” “Why has it taken 65 years to recognise that rape is a weapon of war?” February 9, 2012

[Stories] are also just stories. Can they change the lived reality of women in conflict zones and misogynistic cultures? Can they leverage implementation of dormant laws and cajole corrupted law enforcement officials out of their jobs? That remains to be seen. But at least perhaps a global chorus of voices and first-hand experiences is a step in that direction.” —Jessica Mack on RH Reality Check, “The Launch of "Women Under Siege:" A Journalistic Megaphone For Victims of Sexual Violence,” February 8, 2012


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