Both a Yazidi woman and a Black man who fought against sexual violence won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced Friday (Oct. 5). The news comes after President Donald Trump expressed that he deserved the coveted honor.
Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege, both anti-abuse activists and advocates for victims, have strongly opposed sexual violence, which is often used as a weapon during war and armed conflict. Both have drawn attention to wartime sexual violence, urging that perpetuators be held accountable for their crimes.
Mukwege, a gynecologist and surgeon, has provided medical care for thousands of women and girls affected by rape and sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, CNN reported. He founded a clinic in Bukavu, an eastern city in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 20 years ago. Working with colleagues at Panzi Hospital, he supports brutalized women.
Murad identifies as a Yazidi woman, referring to the predominantly Kurdish-speaking group consisting of more than 400,000 people primarily living in Syria and Iraq. She has a poignant story: Murad, who is from the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar, was held as a sex slave by ISIS, according to CNN. She survived the abuse and became a UN goodwill ambassador for the “dignity of human trafficking survivors” at age 23 in 2016.
She is the second-youngest Nobel prize recipient after activist Malala Yousafzai.
Both Murad and Mukwege won the prize following Trump’s controversial comments in May about deserving to win the honor. “Everyone thinks so, but I would never say it,” Trump said when asked by a reporter in the White House if he thinks he should receive the prestigious award, The Hill reported.