WMC Women Under Siege

Report: Sexualized violence may disproportionately affect children in war

Children flee fighting in eastern DRC in May 2012. Save the Children's new report found that 65 percent of sexualized violence in the DRC involved children. (IRIN)

“They didn’t hit her, but they ruined her.”

That’s how a young woman named Maimouna described the gang rape of her 16-year-old neighbor in Mali, according to a new report from Save the Children. The NGO has transcribed interviews with witnesses such as Maimouna and with dozens of firsthand survivors to illustrate their latest findings: that in many conflict and post-conflict zones around the world, children make up the majority of sexualized violence victims.

The report, “Unspeakable Crimes Against Children: Sexual Violence in Conflict,” is accompanied by a short film of some of these children’s testimonies. And while the numbers vary between regions, Save the Children found many conflict zones where the majority of victims were below adult age. In post-conflict Liberia, for instance, “83% of survivors of gender-based violence in 2011–12 were younger than 17, and almost all of these cases involved rape.” And in the Democratic Republic of Congo, not only did the majority of sexualized crimes involve children, but 10 percent of the victims were 9 years old or younger.

For more on these findings, read the full report here.

More articles by Category: Girls, International, Violence against women
More articles by Tag: War, Sexualized violence, Rape



Michele Lent Hirsch
Associate Editor
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