The Devastating Impact of the War for Women

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Reports of sexual violence being used as a “weapon of war” by Russian forces are on the rise.

  • In addition to news of attacks on civilians and families that have been displaced, there are now initial reports that Russian forces have committed sexual violence during the Ukraine invasion.
  • It is too soon to know whether the cases in Ukraine are systematic. Although sexual violence as a weapon of war does not exclusively target women, they frequently bear the brunt.
  • Sexual violence is known to be a deliberate tactic used in war. It dehumanizes and demoralizes opponents, knowingly inflicting trauma on civilians.
  • Russian forces are known to have perpetrated sexual violence in other conflicts. Reports from wars in Chechnya, a region that tried to gain independence from Russia, detailed horrific sexual violence.
  • In any war, women and girls are the most at risk, as the breakdown of institutions and communities can leave them extremely vulnerable to sexual violence and exploitation.
  • According to Amnesty International, most survivors of sexual violence experience severe health issues, including mental health problems, and have almost no access to medical or psychosocial services.
The Washington Post
Foreign Policy
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4 articles on this topic


Where There Is War, There Is Rape. Is Putin’s War Any Different?

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How is sexual violence still being used as a weapon of war?

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1 min read