Sexualised violence against and torture of women and girls are part of every war. Rapes in war are not limited to the events during and after World War II, nor can the mass rapes in the Bosnia War in the early 90s be considered an inexplicable exception. Sexualised violence is not only a particularly perverse form of warfare, but also a shocking, traumatising day-to-day experience for women and children in many countries all over the world.
Shocking extend of rapes in war
- In Liberia, an estimated two out of three women were raped during the civil war from 1989 until 2003.
- As for the Democratic Republic of Congo, it is assumed that hundreds of thousands of women were raped there; even after the official end of the war in 2002, brutal violence against women continues without hindrance in several parts of the country. Many perpetrators rape in gangs, use weapons or pieces of glass for rape and leave the women behind seriously injured.
- Studies from Rwanda assume that almost all women and girls were victims of rape in the war in 1994 – tens of thousands were dreadfully mutilated or killed.
- During the Kosovo War in 1998/99, between 23,000 and 45,000 women fell victim to sexualised violence.
- In Afghanistan, it is no exaggeration to claim that war continues to be waged against the female population even after the fall of the Taliban: women are regarded as second class people; and marital violence and abuse are rife.
- The list is much longer than that, even if figures are often only estimated, as the topic of war rapes is one that still does not attract sufficient attention: the data on hand is devastating. That, too, reflects the fact that sexualised violence in wars and conflicts was long regarded as “collateral damage”.