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This book is a product of a research project called ‘voices of youth’ carried out - page 101 / 125





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A Lost Generation: Young People and Conflict in Africa

  • Civil society (HR and women groups)

Sexual Violence in times of conflict Sexualised violence is a form of violence intentionally directed against a person’s most intimate sphere and aims to demonstrate power and superiority by humiliating and debasing the person (Medica Mondiale 2005). Sexual violence, refers to any act, attempt or threat of a sexual nature that results, or is likely to result, in physical, psychological and emotional harm. Sexual violence is a form of gender- based violence. Although the majority of victims/survivors are women and children, boys and men are also targets of sexual and gender-based violence especially in situations of conflict. It is inherent in the very structural inequalities and the skewed power relations that exist and are reinforced by laws, customs and traditions in our societies. Sexual violence is not a phenomenon that only emerges in conflict, sadly it is rife within most societies. Conflict only provides a platform for sexual violence to happen on a larger scale, become more systematic and conspicuous. Sexual violence crimes are systematically inflicted on women and girls in conflict, as a weapon to defeat resistance of counter armed groups, instill fear in local communities, destroy bonds within communities and families, undertake ethnic cleansing and supply combatants with sexual services amongst many other reasons. It is an experience of suffering, deprivation and discrimination (UNICEF 2006).

Some facts and accounts on sexual violence in conflict within Africa Country Reports (UNICEF 2006)


* Of a sample of Rwandan women surveyed in 1999, 39 percent reported being raped during the 1994 genocide, and 72 percent said they knew someone who had been raped. * it is suspected that between 250,000 to 500,000 women were raped during the genocide Liberia 74 percent of a random sample of 388


74 percent of a random sample of 388 Liberian refugee women living in camps in Sierra Leone reported being sexually abused prior to being displaced from their homes in Liberia.

Democratic Republic of Congo 55 percent of women experienced sexual violence during displacement. In the Republic of Congo, approximately 2,000 women sought out medical treatment for sexual violence, 10 percent of whom reported rape-related pregnancies

Congo Brazzaville United Nations officials estimate that 5,000 women and girls

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