In the heart of Prishtina, there is a memorial that stands as testimony to one of the ugliest aspects of the brutality of wars: the sexual violence against women (and men). In twentieth century Europe, rape was used as a weapon on a battlefield of human bodies to humiliate and destroy.
The memorial depicts the face of a woman. Its contours are a representation of facial features of Kosovo women, all blended into one powerful Face. From afar, it is the face of the Woman who experienced the unspeakable evil committed during the war in 1998-1999. Close up, visitors can see that the Face is made of thousands of metal pins (some 20,000), each representing a woman in Kosovo who was raped during the war. This text was written in September 2022. Kosovo women who were subject of rape and sexual violence during the war still live with those piercing painful memories, more often than not without proper support, often concealing the trauma, often feeling abandoned. They are the living testimony of the evils of war, and how society continues to fail them.
The memorial, appropriately named The Heroines, was unveiled on 12 June 2015, on the sixteenth anniversary of the liberation of Prishtina. It channels the strength of these women who, despite everything, are the backbone of their families and communities. True Heroines of Kosovo.
The memorial is located in front of the Newborn monument, behind the Grand Hotel.