Documentary Tells Story of Memorial Created by Women Victims of Sexual Violence in Colombian Armed Conflict

Gender and Migration, Migration and gender

Bogotá – IOM Colombia supported the production of Fragmentos, el documental (Fragments, the Documentary). The short film tells the story of the creation of the memorial Fragmentos out of 37 tons of weapons voluntarily surrendered by the former guerrilla FARC-EP, in fulfillment of their commitments to the Peace Accord. The memorial was created by women victims of sexual violence.  

The documentary not only accounts of the collection and smelting of the rifles used by the guerilla group, but also traces the experience of the women victims who forged the metal molds for the project. “It’s a metaphor for how fire can transform things,” said Spanish journalist Mayte Carrasco, director of the documentary. 

The ‘counter-monument’ is the work of Colombian artist and activist Doris Salcedo, who invited a group of women who were victims of sexual violence in the context of the armed conflict, to shape the floor tiles, which are made of cast weapons.  

For days, this group of survivors developed the design that would symbolize an end to the power these weapons had over them. “This work is not monumental, nor does it monumentalize or tell a grandiose story. Beauty had to be eliminated in this work. It seemed immoral to give beauty to weapons, that's why I refused to make a monument; this is a ‘counter-monument’. You cannot glorify violence, you have to criticize it,” Salcedo explained.  

“Weapons are no longer over us, now we tread on them and so we tread on pain. For days, we hammered this metal to mark the symbolic end of the relationship of power imposed by weapons,” commented a woman from the Network of Women Victims and Professionals, who supported this development.  

The participation of survivors of sexual violence in this piece is part of the symbolic reparation, recognition and non-repetition that is necessary for the peace-building and reconciliation process that is taking place in Colombia after the signing of the Peace Accord. 

Fragmentos, el documental has been circulating at film festivals around the world. On 22 March it was presented in Malaga, Spain and on 14 April in Mecal, at the Barcelona International Short and Animation Festival. At the end of April, it was screened at the Busan International Documentary Festival in the Republic of Korea and on 3 May at the Bogotá International Book Fair. It is hoped that this documentary will continue to be screened at festivals to project the voices of women victims of sexual violence. 

Through this documentary, IOM seeks to raise awareness at the global level on the opportunities created by peace processes, such as the one in Colombia, which put an end to nearly 50 years of armed conflict between the FARC-EP and the State. The conflict contributed to the internal displacement of over 7 million persons – heading the list globally, ahead of Syria and Iraq – according to official figures from the Unit for Integrated Attention and Reparation for Victims. 

“Documentary cinema is a tool for telling stories that have happened or are happening, through characters that exist or have existed within the plot, in order to educate, sensitize and generate debate,” said Ana Durán, IOM Chief of Mission in Colombia. 

She added, “This is the case of Fragmentos, a documentary that generates a special empathy in the public for the issues it addresses, and the message of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace it projects. It is in this spirit that IOM has supported Fragmentos as an educational and social mobilization tool.”  

The documentary was made possible thanks to the support of the National Museum of Colombia and IOM, as well as the financial contribution of the Canadian Embassy in Colombia. 

It is permanently projected in the Fragmentos space for art and contemporary memory in Bogotá, a memorial that marks the end of the armed conflict with the FARC-EP. 

Watch the trailer of the documentary at:   

For further information please contact Emmanuel Fontalvo, Email:; Karen Mora, Tel. + (57) 1 639 7777, Email: 

  • Women hammering the molds that shaped the fragment slabs.  Photo: IOM/Juan Fernando Castro