Study reveals systematic use of rape as a weapon of Russian occupation in Ukraine

Study reveals systematic use of rape as a weapon of Russian occupation in Ukraine
Study reveals systematic use of rape as a weapon of Russian occupation in Ukraine

Olha, 26, alleges that she was beaten, given electric shocks and subjected to forced nudity and torture by Russian occupation forces, in Kherson, Ukraine, December 9, 2022. REUTERS/Anna Voitenko/File

A study of Lemkin Documentation Center presented this Tuesday in Berlin denounces the systematic use of rape and other forms of sexual violence as a weapon of Russian attackerswho resort to it as another tool in their purpose of subdue the population through fear.

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“When documenting Russia’s crimes in the territories that have been liberated, we saw that one of the tools of the Russian Army to control the local population through fear is “sexual violence”says the report.

The Ukrainian activist Tatiana Tipakovawho was at the presentation, estimates – based on interviews with women she has helped through an NGO she directs – that in the occupied territories nine out of ten women have been raped by Russians and? There is none that has not been subjected to some form of violence.

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“It is feasible to extrapolate this statistic to all occupied territories, especially to small towns and cities. The percentage may even be higher. In larger cities it may be a little less,” he told EFE after the presentation of the report.

“But the important thing is that many of these violations have a very deep meaning. The motivation is: we are going to rape you so you don’t have more children”he added.

Women react during a rally of relatives and friends of defenders of the Azovstal Steel Plant in Mariupol. kyiv, Ukraine August 4, 2022. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko/File

The study concludes that rape is another tool in the Russian attempt to destroy the identity and self-esteem of Ukrainians.

The study contains testimonies of women who suffered sexual violence at the hands of Russians both in the self-proclaimed independent republics after the annexation of Crimea in 2014 as in other parts of Ukraine after Russia will launch its large-scale invasion in February 2022.

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The women have given their testimonies under the condition of anonymity and in the report an effort has been made to erase all traces that could identify them.

According to the coordinator of the report, Monika Andruszewskathese are women who live near the front and the places where they reside could be taken over by the Russians again, so they could be object of revenge.

Furthermore, many do not want to be identified with the experiences they have lived out of shame. Andruszewska told the case of a woman who had been forced to perform fellatio and, when she gave her testimony, she said that She wanted the world to know but her husband not to know..

Ukrainian women hug each other during a solidarity march marking the second anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Budapest, Hungary, February 24, 2024. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

Tatiana Tipakova said that she was not physically raped despite the fact that during the time she was detained in Berdiansk when the Russians took the city (from the Zaporizhzhia region) there was rape attempts by Russians which, he said, were too drunk.

But he suffered other forms of sexual violence and other forms of torture, he said.

When the war began in February 2022, Tatiana began calling people to demonstrations in favor of Ukraine and against the invasion. “The Russians said that we were waiting for them, we had to confront that propaganda and show the world that this was not the case,” she said.

A few days later they arrested her and took her to jail. In the first interrogation there was no violence but only a invitation to publicly join the Russian side.

Empty cells of the local police station in Kherson where the Russians during the occupation torture and intimidate prisoners. Europa Press/Contact/Lev Radin/Archive

When he refused, he began to suffer a cycle of torture. They took her out of her cell every three hours and took her to another room where her guards hit her with books and pieces of wood and told her that they didn’t hit her with their hands because it made them sick to touch her.

After a while he agreed to read a statement on camera in exchange for being allowed to go home. Afterwards she was taken to an open field, where they told her that they had changed their mind and she was going to kill her.

“Lying on the floor I thought something absurd, I thought they were going to kill me and no one was going to know what was happening to women in Ukraine,” she said.

They did not kill her, according to her, because they believed she was already morally broken and later managed to flee to territory controlled by Ukraine and founded an NGO to help women fleeing the invaders.

(With information from EFE)

 
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