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We value the importance in sharing the expertise and diverse perspectives of members of the university community. In this series, we asked faculty and students to offer their view in response to the recent announcement of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to a survivor and a doctor fighting against rape as a weapon of war. The opinions expressed are their own.

By: Suzanna Rose

The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Nadia Murad, a Yazidi woman and sexual assault survivor of the Islamic State, and Dr. Denis Mukwege, a Congolese doctor, for their respective campaigns to end the use of mass rape as a weapon of war, should be seen as a challenge for the rest of us. It’s about time.

While Murad and Mukwege’s work deserves accolades, it also raises the question of why such work should still be necessary. This past weekend, the U.S. Senate confirmed Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court despite numerous accusations of sexual assault against him. His confirmation reminds us we have not moved forward in the last three decades, since Clarence Thomas was confirmed to the Supreme Court despite allegations of sexual harassment. It is estimated that 35 percent of women have experienced sexual violence, with some national studies putting the number at close to 70 percent, according to the United Nations.

2018 has been dubbed by many as the Year of the Woman. For that to ring true, we need to be inspired by Murad and Mukwege to continue fighting for change. Be glad Murad and Mukwege won, but also be mad they won for efforts that should not have been necessary in the first place.

Dr. Suzanna M. Rose is the Founding Associate Provost of the Office to Advance Women, Equity & Diversity and Professor of Psychology and Women’s and Gender Studies. She has published extensively on issues related to women and gender, including professional networks, career development, leadership, and personal relationships. 

This opinion piece was originally published in the Oct. 11 edition of The Miami Herald. See all opinion pieces from the series here.