My Body: A War Zone: Documenting stories of wartime sexual violence in Bosnia, Herzegovina and Nepal

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The “digital turn” has transformed the landscape of transitional justice research. A wealth of data has been created through social media channels, and new digitisation tools have made existing data more easily accessible. This article discusses the ethical and methodological dimensions of using digital data and novel technologies in transitional justice research based on innovative research using digital archives, digitised transcripts, social media (Facebook) content and digital images. The authors review and evaluate how, in each of these domains, new digital technologies have enabled scholars to expand empirical evidence to understand the mechanics of transitional justice by analysing how data is produced and curated, to interrogate ethical dilemmas involved in those processes and to shift the focus from the ability of transitional justice to fulfil normative goals to how transitional justice is enacted and articulated as a process.
This article has evolved from an exhibition produced with PROOF: Media for Social Justice entitled “My Body Is a War Zone,” which was part of a larger project (“Legacy of Rape”) consisting of stories from women in four postconflict regions. Drawing on interviews conducted with women in Santa Marta, Colombia, in May 2012 and January 2017, I explore the use of testimony, photography, and exhibition as a means of empowering survivors to become activists. Using the Colombian example, I argue that such exhibitions can transform national and public dialogue by engaging audiences on a personal and emotional level.
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