Skip to main content

Lola's War: Rape Without Punishment

King's Building, Strand Campus, London

16MayLola's war

What happens after war and after post-war justice has run its course? What is the experience of women who were victims of rape and sexual violence? What obstacles do they face in the pursuit of justice?

This important book finds answers to these questions by listening to the voices of women such as Lola, a Bosnian woman who in the first two months of war had become a widow, displaced, unemployed, homeless, disabled and a sole caretaker of her nine-month-old baby, four-year-old daughter and six-year-old son. In a matter of weeks, her whole life was torn into pieces and turned into a nightmare. Lola’s War tells her extraordinary story and charts her three-decades-long fight for justice. Only one of Lola’s several perpetrators was convicted but his sentence of six years of imprisonment has never been actioned by the Bosnian judiciary. Lola’s rapist is still free and she lives in continual fear that he will retaliate against her and her children for her role in his trial.

Joining Dr Simic to discuss the book will be Professor Jelke Boesten who will offer their perspective on the themes and issues raised and consider how it relates to broader issues of addressing and responding to gendered violence. The discussion will be chaired by Professor Rachel Kerr.

This event is hosted by the War Crimes Research Group in collaboration with the Visual and Embodied Methodologies Network. In addition, it is part of a series of events for the ongoing ESRC-funded project, Visual and Embodied Methodologies for Intersectional Gendered Violence (VEMINISTAS).


Dr Olivera Simić

Olivera Simić is an Associate Professor with the Griffith Law School, a feminist and a human rights activist. Dr Simić was born in the former Yugoslavia and lived through the Yugoslav Wars (1991-1999). She was nineteen years old, studying the first year of a law degree in Bosnia and Herzegovina when the Bosnian War broke out in 1992. Initially as a refugee and later as a migrant, Dr Simić lived and studied in Eastern and Western Europe, the USA and South America, before coming to Australia in 2006.

She has published four monographs and eight co-edited collections, numerous book chapters, journal articles and personal narratives. They draw on hundreds of interviews with victims, perpetrators and bystanders of the wars. The stories of people who struggle with post-war trauma and seek some form of justice for crimes they survived, particularly women, are at the heart of Dr Simić’s work.

Dr Simić was a nominee for the Penny Pether Prize for Scholarship in Law, Literature and the Humanities, and won the Peace Women Award from Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF, Australian branch).

Professor Jelke Boesten

Jelke Boesten is Professor in Gender and Development in the Department of International Development at King’s College London. Prior to joining King’s, she held a research position at the University of Bradford, Departments of International Development (2004-06) and Peace Studies (2006-07), and a lectureship at the University of Leeds in Politics and International Studies (2007-2013). In 2011-12, she held a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellowship at the US Institute of Peace, Washington DC. She was offered an Alberto Flores Galindo Visiting Professorship, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, for 2021, and a Visiting Fellowship at the Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation (CEDLA) in Amsterdam.

Over the years, Jelke has looked at different aspects of violence against women in war and in peace, social policy and transitional justice, and persistent intersecting inequalities, particularly in Peru. At King’s, she founded and convenes the Gender Studies Network as well as co-convenes the Visual and Embodied Methodologies (VEM) network. 


Professor Rachel Kerr

Professor Rachel Kerr is a contemporary historian working on transitional and post-conflict justice and memory and international law and war. She co-convenes the War Crimes Research Group at King’s. She also co-convenes the SSPP Visual and Embodied Methodologies Network with Dr Jelke Boesten (Development Studies) and Professor Cathy McIlwaine (Geography). In 2009-10, she was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC, and from 2011-13, a Visiting Research Associate at the Centre for International Policy Studies, University of Ottawa, Canada. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and the Royal Historical Society.

At this event

Rachel Kerr

Professor of War and Society

Jelke Boesten

Vice Dean (Research), interim, SSPP

Search for another event