Since the earliest days of the conflict in Syria, rumors and reports of sexual and gender-based violence have been rampant, but collecting high-quality documentation of such crimes has proved challenging. Since 2014, SJAC has made a concerted effort to access survivors of SGBV and document their experiences, in an attempt to understand how SGBV is being perpetrated in Syria. These efforts have led to in-depth interviews with over 50 survivors of sexual violence, culminating in a new report published today.
“Do You Know What Happens Here?” examines the widespread and systematic use of SGBV related crimes in Syria. Drawing upon the testimony of 91 survivors, the report identifies alarming patterns of violence. SGBV was used as a form of punishment at state-controlled detention facilities, and government forces committed sexual violence during home raids and at checkpoints. Due to the fact that such crimes took place over multiple years and across numerous locations, there are reasonable grounds to believe that Syrian officials sanctioned these acts. The report concludes with a list of recommendations to the Syrian government, the UN Special Envoy, the IIIM, and foreign governments, including a demand to immediately provide full access to all detention centers to independent monitoring groups.
SGBV has a devastating toll not only on victims, but on communities as a whole, as entire segments of society are shunned and ostracized. SJAC is hopeful that this new report will continue to drive discussion on SGBV crimes and what measures are needed to provide support and justice to survivors.
The full report can be accessed here.