The brutality of sexual violence in Sudan

Young sudanese women  Young sudanese women © Photo by Claudio Vidri on iStock

This article is a brief presentation of the Insecurity Insight Report on sexual violence in Sudan.

Insecurity Insight is a non-profit organisation which tries to find new ways for  documenting violence and its impact. The Organisation works in partnership with aid agencies, policy makers and researchers by bringing in its innovative data collection and analysis methods to protect and amplify the voices of those in need. In the Insecurity Insight Report, the Organisation provided analyses of sexual violence in Sudan.

The data presented in the Report shows the risks of  women and girls of becoming victims of sexual violence during their usual daily activities, which are often related to the support of their families. The Report finds that the Sudanese authorities and local communities rarely intervene to protect and defend women and children - this is especially apparent in the province of  Darfur. Perpetrators are hardly held accountable and reports are too infrequent compared to the crimes committed.

The Report analyses 18 cases of sexual violence commited in the period January-October 2020. Almost all the victims - 39 women and girls aged between eight and 50 - suffered severe trauma and one victim was killed. There is no data on abuse of  men or boys. The Organisation states that the cases analysed in this research are only a fraction of the actual number of cases in the Darfur region.

Sexual violence at first contact, which is the most common offence, very often affected women and girls working in the fields or collecting firewood. In these cases, rapes usually involved a single victim, while mass rapes are more common during orchestrated attacks on villages. The Report indicates that six of the cases were such mass rapes to which 18 women and nine girls fell victim.

Most of the sexual abusers were armed and were not identified further. However, members of the Sudan Liberation Army (Central Darfur), the paramilitary Border Guard (Central Darfur) and the Sudanese Armed Forces (South Darfur) were all identified  as perpetrators.

Reporting sexual violence is an important first step to initiate change and counteract this crime. The work of Insecurity Insight and reports of victims contribute to efforts to raise awareness of and to prevent sexual violence to be able to hold perpetrators accountable. Another important aspect, beyond reporting, constitutes supporting the families and communities of survivors. Although reporting of brutal and conflict-related sexual violence has increased, it still remains sporadic and there is still much work to be done to eradice sexual abuses.


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Author: Carla Pintor


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