UN Hears of Crimes Against Women in Ukraine

Increasing dangers include rapes by Russian troops, human trafficking, domestic violence
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2022 7:45 PM CDT
Threats Against Women Multiply in Ukraine, UN Hears
Women walk past a poster reading "Ukrainian resistance" in Kyiv on Monday.   (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

The UN Security Council heard Monday of the increased danger of sexual violence women in Ukraine are facing during the war. "Russia is using sexual violence and rape as terror to control civilians in temporarily occupied territories," said Natalia Karbowska of the Ukrainian Women’s Fund. The UN has had 124 cases of sexually based violence reported to it, but an official said the problem is consistently underreported, the Washington Post reports. "More and more allegations show Russia's soldiers sexually assaulting women and girls, as well as men and boys," said US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

The ambassador said the UN has multiple reports "of Russia's soldiers breaking down doors to basements where women were sheltering and raping them … done in front of their children." The attacks have been filmed by Russian soldiers, Thomas-Greenfield said. Human trafficking has become a threat for women fleeing Ukraine, experts said, per the Post. People posing as volunteers at reception points once the women arrive in other countries are preying on them, often offering rides to the most vulnerable, including those without money, carrying just a suitcase and their children while facing language barriers.

Domestic violence already was a major problem in Ukraine, officials said, and it's worsened since the fighting began. In May, advocacy groups issued a report saying, "The obligation of Ukrainian men to fight, and the easy access to weapons have increased stressors and tension in households, increasing the risk of intimate partner violence." Analysts say the increase in domestic violence could linger after the war. As early as April, the UN called for the allegations of sexual violence against women and children in Ukraine to be investigated, per CNN. (Read more Russia-Ukraine conflict stories.)

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