Men and boys are among the alleged victims of rape by Russian soldiers in Ukraine, according to UN and Ukrainian officials, The Guardian reported.
“I have received reports, not yet verified … about sexual violence cases against men and boys in Ukraine,” said Pramila Patten, UN special representative on sexual violence in war, at a press conference in Kyiv.
Patten added that it can be particularly challenging for male rape survivors to report the crime. “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,” the report said.
She warned that the dozens of cases of sexual violence under investigation so far “only represent the tip of the iceberg,” urging survivors to come forward and the international community to find and hold perpetrators accountable. “Today’s documentation will be tomorrow’s prosecution,” she said, The Guardian reported.
According to The Guardian, Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Iryna Venediktova, said on Tuesday that her office had received reports of sexual violence by Russian troops against men and women of all ages, from children to the elderly.
Venediktova told a news conference in the shattered Kyiv suburb of Irpin, one of a cluster of small towns whose names have become synonymous with Russian war crimes, that rape was a deliberate strategy used by Moscow. “Of course, the goal is to scare civil society… to do everything possible to (force Ukraine to) capitulate.”
In Ukraine, there have been few public accounts of sexual violence. Some victims have fled the country, and those who have remained are afraid to speak out about their ordeal, according to Venediktova, according to the report.