War Is Not Over When It Is Over

Women Speak Out from the Ruins of War

From the renowned authority on domestic violence, a startlingly original inquiry into the aftermath of wars and their impact on the least visible victims: women. In 2007, the International Rescue Committee, which brings emergency relief to countries in the wake of war, sought to understand what women in post-conflict zones really needed, wanted, and feared. Answers came through the point and click of a digital camera. On behalf of the IRC, Ann Jones spent a year traveling through Africa, East Asia, and the Middle East, giving cameras to women who had no other means of telling the world what war had done to their lives. 

The photography project—which moved from Liberia to the Congo to Burmese refugee camps in Thailand and points in between—quickly became a lens on the true nature of modern warfare and its consequences for the most vulnerable. As Jones hears from Iraqi wives, Karenni widows, and West African teenage girls, the definitive moments of military victory often bring little relief to civilians. Women and children remain blighted by injury, loss, and displacement. They are the most affected by the destruction of communities and social institutions. And along with peace often comes worsening violence against women, both domestic and sexual, inflicted by roving militias, brought home by men returning from the front, and taken up by civilians. Dramatic and compelling, animated by the voices of unimaginably brave and resourceful women, War Is Not Over When It’s Over shines a powerful light on the lives of people too long cast in shadow.

“Harrowing and important . . . What Jones brings to the fore here is sadly often overlooked in discussions of world politics.”

—Minneapolis Star Tribune

“ . . . there is an element of creativity, even joy, in Jones’s stories [of] bold groups of women, acting collectively, learning skills, creating independent livelihoods, showing solidarity with abused women, challenging community leaders—and sometimes laughing and dancing as they do it.”

—Cynthia Cockburn, Women’s Review of Books

“A gripping, ground-floor look at the lingering ravages of conflict in some of the deadliest contemporary war zones . . . This searing expose on war’s remnants convincingly makes the case that gender inequality may be one of the greatest threats to peace.” 

—Kirkus Reviews

“While decrying the continuing ‘post-conflict zone’ of violence against women . . . [Jones reveals] their fortitude in the direst of circumstances . . . [and] provides glimpses of hard-won triumphs.”

—Publishers Weekly

“Jones writes . . . with deep empathy, the result of a lifetime of writing, photographing and devoting herself to the plight of women who endure extreme violence . . . Her first feat . . . is to frame extreme suffering, often seen as something ‘over there’ and ‘far away,’ with immediacy for readers in their comfortable and safe homes.”

 —Angilee Shah, Zocalo

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