Russian soldiers 'targeted Ukrainian society' with rape: Ukrainian human rights lawyer

Friday, 13 May 2022 (13:06 IST)
The United Nations along with several aid organizations say that women are bearing the brunt of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. There have been an increasing number of reports from civilians of sexual violence in areas that had been under Russian control.

Human rights lawyer Oleksandra Matviichuk heads up the Center for Civil Liberties in Kyiv and told DW that sexual violence is what she called "the most hidden crime."

"It's very difficult to speak. And that's why sexual violence is the most hidden crime. And survivors of sexual violence very often not apply to police nor to human rights defenders, because they consider this crime as a shame."

Matviichuk said that rape was a way of targeting Ukrainian society and that one of the consequences has been fear, which has allowed Russian forces to gain a level of control.

"Through the concrete victims of rapes, Russian soldiers targeted Ukrainian society... Some people feel guilty because they couldn't protect and stop it and other people feel fear to be treated in the same way. So in some in result, it's provide a frozen effect to resistance. And that's why we consider that Russians use rapes as a part of terror against civilians in order to quickly obtain control over the region.

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