Rape is part of Russia's strategy and weapon of war

Rape has been a military strategy since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, as highlighted by the United Nations (UN). Sexual violence during the invasion is not only a side effect of the conflict, but one of the main tactics of deliberate dehumanization of the Russian army and, according to UN reports, affects victims from four to 90 years old in Ukrainian territory.

Although there is currently greater awareness on the subject, rape is still the “most silenced, least publicized and therefore the least condemned crime”, he highlighted. Pramila Patten, special representative of the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, in an interview with Le Monde.

“Rape and all types of sexual aggression were perpetrated by Russian forces, often systematically, with extreme brutality and cruelty. Investigations of specific cases show that this is a military strategy aimed at dehumanizing victims and terrorizing the population. Rape in Ukraine is in fact a weapon of war”, revealed Patten.

The first complaints appeared on the third day that of conflict. The government of Ukraine leads the investigations together with the UN, through different regional representatives and the country’s first lady, Olena Zelenska.

The researches rely on the fact that it is not possible to study the total number of rapes carried out since February, especially since most victims do not report this type of crime for fear of reprisals. Even so, the reports bring data that demonstrate that rape is strongly present in Russian movements in Ukraine.

Reports of widespread rape


The first report was delivered in September 23 by the chairman of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine to the UN. The team worked in the Kiev, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy regions, where they visited rubble, torture and detention centers and met with more than 150 victims and witnesses. The researchers confirmed the widespread use of rape, specified that the victims’ ages ranged from children to the elderly, and that their relatives were often forced to witness the crimes.

Another report, by the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), revealed the use of rape against women and children in places occupied by Russian forces, and also against men in places of detention. The study cited shocking examples.

In the Kiev region, for example, two Russian soldiers entered the home of a couple and their four-year-old daughter, raped the wife, forced the husband to watch to the scene before beating him, torturing him, forcing him to have sex with his wife in front of them, while their daughter cried in another room. Later, the child would have revealed that she was also sexually abused.

“In Kiev, I saw the mother of a boy of 23 years he was raped in front of his parents. Not to mention the Ukrainian refugees I met in Warsaw who turned to the wall when they saw the words ‘sexual violence’, traumatized and unable to speak,” described the spokeswoman for the UN.

Konstantin Gudauskas, a volunteer from the Bucha region of northern Ukraine, reported one of the sexual crimes he heard about during the evacuation of Ukrainians. “She was a 14 year old girl. Her eyes were red, full of blood. She said to me, ‘Save me!'” Gudauskas recalled in an interview. to González Golshiri, international reporter in Ukraine for Le Monde. The volunteer covered the girl with a duvet and took her out of Bucha.

On the way, she said that she had been raped for ten days in a row by Russian soldiers in a basement, while her mother was tied to a chair, being forced to watch.

“The soldiers told her: ‘We are raping you so that you can no longer have children,'” the volunteer wrote. The Russians shot her mother, who died of her injuries two days later. The girl escaped, taking advantage of the intoxication of the Russians who had forgotten to tie her up.

Crime Control

Last month, in Paris, Patten signed a partnership agreement with the NGO Bibliotecas Sem Fronteiras, which has developed safe spaces where survivors of sexual violence have access to medical, psychological and legal support services, as well as educational activities and professional training.

The Russian government has assured that it would cooperate with the investigations. However, according to Patten, at each meeting, the Russian representative was content to deny the abuses, saying they were “fake news”. “I’m not at all satisfied”, said the executive.

In addition to the trauma, the entities are concerned about another consequence of this violence: the pregnancy of raped women. Both those who are still in the country and those who had to flee. The UN has been mobilizing meetings with representatives of nearby countries, especially Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Moldova and Poland.

“Can you imagine the dismay of a Ukrainian woman? And her urgency? go home with a Russian baby? Never! In Nigeria, I met girls kidnapped by Boko Haram and returned from captivity with babies. Their fate was terrible. They were rejected by their families, mocked, despised, attacked.This crime affects generations”, pointed out Pamila.

Human trafficking

In addition to rape, the United Nations High Commissioner United Nations for Refugees (UNHCR) revealed in a statement in April that it is “on alert and alerting refugees to the risks posed by predators and criminal networks that may try to exploit their vulnerability or lure them with promises of free transport, accommodation, employment or other forms of assistance”. An echo of the recent positions of the Council of Europe and Unicef, also insisting on the fact that more than 90% of those refugees who left Ukraine are women and children.

When the war broke out in 24 February, the chaos at the borders benefited the smugglers. accommodation offered in exchange for sexual relations were quickly denounced by associations present at the place.

Recent Articles