The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Dr. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad, who both fought to end mass rape in warfare, on Friday in Oslo.
Mukwege, a Congolese gynecologist, has treated tens of thousands of rape victims in a country that was once called the rape capital of the world, according to The New York Times.
Murad, is a survivor of sexual violence by the Islamic State, who became a public figure of the campaign to free the Yazidi people, a Kurdish religious minority group.
“We want to send out a message of awareness that women, who constitute half of the population in most communities, actually are used as a weapon of war, and that they need protection and that the perpetrators have to be prosecuted and held responsible for their actions,” said Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chairwoman Nobel Committee. Adding that they made “crucial contribution to focusing attention on, and combating, such war crimes.”
Murad, 25, was a sex slave to ISIS militants for three months, where she was bought and sold and endured sexual and physical assault. She escaped the terror group in November 2014 and has campaigned to end human trafficking ever since, according to the BBC.
Mukwege and his colleagues have reportedly treated 30,000 rape victims in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“I was in the operating room so when they started to make noise around [it] I wasn’t really thinking about what was going on, and suddenly some people came in and told me the news,” he told the Norwegian newspaper VG on how he found out he won the prize.
Nelson Mandela, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa and former President Barack Obama have previously won the Nobel Peace Prize.