“I asked them not to hit me, and told them I was pregnant…” data on gender-based violence in Donbas
92 men and 114 women were victims of gender-based violence since the beginning of military operations in eastern Ukraine, representing respectively 45% and 55% of surveyed victims of human rights violations.
This data is presented in the report titled “Unspoken Pain” of the “Justice for Peace in Donbas” Coalition, which was released on February 2.
According to the report, during the monitoring it was observed that there are facts of different forms of gender-based violence in every third interview with witnesses and victims of human rights violations in Donbas, who were held in illegal detention facilities.
Having conducted 276 of such interviews, human rights defenders detected that at least 206 people – 92 men and 114 women – became victims of the gender-based violence. This shows that gender-based violence against men is almost as regular and wide-spread as against women.
Among the reasons for the use of gender-based violence – support of Ukrainian army, military service in Ukrainian army or volunteer battalions, political and religion views, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or in number of cases gender-based violence were used without any particular reason.
“I asked them not to hit me, and told them I was pregnant. They said it was good that “ukrop” child would die. […] I was three-months pregnant, and started bleeding after beatings. I lost consciousness”, – as human rights defenders quoted the testimony of one of the victims, who was detained in the former factory “Isolation” in Donetsk.
Among the cases, documented by the Coalition “Justice for Peace in Donbas”, there were 84 interviews where people told about gender-based violence committed by separatists and 11 interviews where people told about gender-based violence committed by Ukrainian soldiers.
In all documented cases, victims did not have the chance to complain about the gender-based violence while being held in illegal detention facilities. At the same time only quarter of them complained to the police immediately after the release.
This week, Ukrainian human rights defenders at the Conflict Prevention Centre of the OSCE and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France told the diplomats and the public about the “Unspoken Pain” report.