Analysis & Opinions - The Huffington Post

Russia Is Using Rape As A Weapon Of War Against Ukraine

  • Alanna Vagianos
| Apr. 21, 2022

There is a grim historical precedent for what Russian forces are doing, Harvard's Dara Kay Cohen tells HuffPost.


Warning: This article describes graphic sexual violence.

Since the war in Ukraine began, reports of sexual violence perpetrated by Russian fighters slowly trickled out of occupied areas. Then, as Russian forces retreated from these regions at the beginning of the month, likely to refocus ground offensive elsewhere, official reports of sexual assault and rape have flooded in. The widespread accounts paint a horrifying picture of how Russian fighters are weaponizing sexual violence and adding to the terror of wartime.

The testimonies coming from Ukrainians include gang rapes, assaults taking place at gunpoint, rapes committed in front of victims’ children, as well as torture and mutilation. There have been several reports of Ukrainian women who were raped and then murdered by Russian forces.

One Ukrainian woman described on camera how multiple Russian fighters raped her after they rolled into her village with tanks. Another reported that two Russian soldiers murdered her husband on their front lawn and then repeatedly raped her in her basement with her 4-year-old son sobbing in a room down the hall. A group of 15 Ukrainian soldiers, all women, had their heads shaved and were forced to undress and squat for hours while in Russian detention. A dead Ukrainian woman was found in a cellar, shot in the head and naked except for a fur coat, with a used condom and condom wrappers around her.

In one of the most abhorrent testimonies, 25 girls and women, ranging from 14 to 24 years old, were locked in a basement and gang-raped repeatedly in Bucha, a city near the capital of Kyiv. Nine of the victims are now pregnant. "Russian soldiers told them they would rape them to the point where they wouldn't want sexual contact with any man, to prevent them from having Ukrainian children," said Ukraine's ombudsman for human rights Lyudmyla Denisova....

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For Academic Citation: Vagianos, Alanna .“Russia Is Using Rape As A Weapon Of War Against Ukraine.” The Huffington Post, April 21, 2022.

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