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04th May 2022

Men and boys among alleged rape victims of Russian soldiers in Ukraine

Kieran Galpin

The UN has urged more men to come forward

Troubling reports from the United Nations illustrate cases of sexual violence against men and boys in Ukraine, a special representative has revealed.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, reports of war crimes have been plentiful, as heard in one instance where a Russian woman reportedly told her soldier husband to rape Ukrainian women.

Now Pramila Patten, the UN special representative on sexual violence in war, has received “not yet verified” reports of “sexual violence cases against men and boys in Ukraine.”

Speaking during a press conference in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on May 3, Patten said: “It’s hard for women and girls to report [rape] because of stigma amongst other reasons, but it’s often even harder for men and boys to report… we have to create that safe space for all victims to report cases of sexual violence.”

However she warned that initial reports “only represent the tip of the iceberg” and has urged more men to come forward.

“Today’s documentation will be tomorrow’s prosecution,” she added.

In a press conference alongside Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Olga Stefanishina, Patten admitted she could not stay in New York after hearing the harrowing reports.

“I’m here because we must spare no effort to ensure zero tolerance and consistent consequences for these crimes,” she explained, continuing to speak on why Russia employs such barbaric tactics.

“Cheap, because it is cost free. Very effective, because it does not only affect the victim, it affects whole families, the communities,” she said. “It is biological warfare. It is psychological warfare.”

Ukraine’s prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova also accused Russia of deliberately employing such methods.

While Good Morning Britain‘s Richard Madeley had previously questioned “‘how exactly is rape a weapon of war?” the UN ruled in 2008 that “rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide.”

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