Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence sing out in ‘Solidarity’ for justice and an end to sexual violence as a weapon of war
Canadian NGO Make Music Matter partners with the SEMA network to release new single and raise awareness and support
Toronto, June 16, 2023 – Ahead of the 9th International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict on June 19, Toronto-based NGO Make Music Matter (MMM) released today the single ‘Solidarity’ by SEMA, the Global Network of Victims and Survivors to End Wartime Sexual Violence. The collaboration aims to bring survivors’ voices to the forefront and raise awareness of conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV).
Wartime sexual violence is not random or opportunistic. It is a strategy used by armed groups fighting in conflicts worldwide for political or financial gains. SEMA believes that for change to happen it is crucial that the silence around sexual violence as a weapon of war be broken. ‘Solidarity’ represents a global sisterhood working together to break the silence surrounding CRSV. It is part of a collective memory project by SEMA, contributing towards healing, recognition, prevention, and advocacy.
“The song lyrics lead us to reflect on the importance of raising our voices, as an action of solidarity among all, so that our bodies are never violated again, demanding justice, reparation, and restoration,” explains Carmen, a SEMA member and advocate for women and girls’ rights in Colombia who participated in the song writing.
‘Solidarity’ was written and recorded in June 2022 at a SEMA retreat in Amersfoort, Netherlands supported by the Dr. Denis Mukwege Foundation who are longstanding partners of MMM’s Healing in Harmony music therapy program. The song was shared in September 2022 at UN week in New York and now for the first time will be available to stream and download on all major digital platforms via A4A Records with global distribution through Warner Music Canada.
MMM’s founder and CEO Darcy Ataman worked with participants to create the piece. “This community of resilience has made defiance joyful as depicted in this track. Together with our partners at the Mukwege Foundation and SEMA, we can speak truth to power and help end the scourge of sexual violence globally.”
Grammy-nominated artist Marie Daulne aka Zap Mama also took part in leading jam sessions that fueled creativity and bonding. Additional contributors from the MMM community include London-based producer Neil Simons, mixing engineer Robert L. Smith in New York, and mastering engineer João Carvalho in Toronto.
All proceeds and royalties will go back to the participating artists.
Listeners are encouraged to stream the song, share it with their networks, engage in conversations about the elimination of CRSV using the hashtags #EndRapeInWar and #ActWithSEMA on social media, and show your support for the survivors’ Call to Action.
- ‘Solidarity’ artwork
- ‘Solidarity’ video by SEMA, the Global Survivor Network
- ‘Solidarity’ lyric video by A4A Records
- Photos of recording ‘Solidarity’ (© Mukwege Foundation/ Sofia Kuan)
War must stop
Go to the field and fight
Don’t use my body to fight
Children are the seeds
Parents are the leaves
The nation is the tree
We need solidarity
-Lyrics from ‘Solidarity’ by SEMA, the Global Survivor Network
- Written and composed by The Global Survivor Network
- Composed, Recorded and Produced by Darcy Ataman (Canada)
- Composed and Produced by Neil Simons, Loren & Mal R (UK)
- Mixed by Robert L. Smith, assisted by Deeba Montazari at Defy Recordings (USA)
- Mastered by João Carvalho, assisted by Bryan Lowe and Chris Kung at João Carvalho Mastering (Canada)
- Album artwork by Marc Leardi, NULL & VØID Design
About the SEMA network
SEMA, the Global Network of Victims and Survivors to End Wartime Sexual Violence, currently represents survivors of conflict-related sexual violence from 26 countries ranging from Africa and South America to the Middle East and Europe. SEMA members join key international and national discussions on peace and security. They influence policies and programmes, by advocating for changes in how we address sexual violence in conflict. The recently published book, “Breaking the Silence: Turning Pain into Power”, marked the 5th anniversary of the SEMA network.
About the Dr. Denis Mukwege Foundation
The Dr Denis Mukwege Foundation is an organisation that supports survivors’ demands for a world where sexual violence as a weapon of war is no longer tolerated and bears consequences for individual perpetrators and states. They work for a future where survivors receive the holistic care and compensations they need to rebuild their lives. They create opportunities for survivors to speak out and be heard, and where they can organize to create change, influence policies, and demand justice and accountability. In 2017, the Mukwege Foundation initiated SEMA, the Global Network of Survivors, to mobilize survivors to participate in matters that concern them.
About Make Music Matter
Make Music Matter helps to heal trauma and empower marginalized voices with its innovative music therapy program Healing in Harmony. Initially designed for trauma survivors in conflict and post-conflict zones, the model has been clinically proven to help reduce PTSD, anxiety, and depression. From survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo to young Syrian refugees with disabilities and survivors of intergenerational trauma within Indigenous communities in Canada, Healing in Harmony has helped transform the lives of over 12,500 individuals in eight countries worldwide.
Participants emerge with a renewed sense of agency and self-worth. Their original songs are professionally produced and serve as advocacy tools to promote their rights and combat stigma. Original songs are released via A4A Records, with global distribution through Warner Music Canada. A ground-breaking new publishing model helps to ensure that all royalties from the songs are sent back to the artists and their communities, regardless of socio-economic circumstances.
For further information and to arrange interviews, please contact:
Make Music Matter:
Rebecca Purver, Media and Communications Manager
Dr. Denis Mukwege Foundation:
Shintya Kurniawan, Communications Specialist