Earlier this week, human rights group Sudan Democracy First raised the alarm on the use of rape and sexual assault by government security forces against women involved in anti-government protests in Khartoum. The use of rape and sexual violence against women as a tactic of war and suppression has long been documented in the multiple conflicts waged by the Sudanese government against opposition movements throughout its country—in the South, Darfur, and the Nuba Mountains.
Now, this tactic is being used in Khartoum against Sudanese women agitating for change in government. The statement from Sudan Democracy First included testimonies from several women and offered this context:
What the Sudanese women and girls have been facing over the past weeks from rape to harassment and sexual violence, physical and verbal, does not represent a new trend in the history and record of the NCP. However, what is new with these crimes is their use of repression and oppression outside of war affected zones and transferring them to urban settings, and to the capital, Khartoum. The examples below are but illustrations of the savage reaction of the commanded security forces when dealing with women and girls after Sudanese citizens rose in January / February and held the NCP historically and politically responsible for the secession of the South, the widespread corruption and nepotism, the absence of justice and accountability, the incitement of hate and divisions, the continuation of the war in Darfur, in addition to the widespread poverty, homelessness, unemployment and growing economic decay.
In spite of repercussions that may arise, one rape survivor, Safia Ishag, courageously came forward to tell the world her story in an attempt, she says, to “be an inspiration to other girls. So they can speak out of their experiences with courage. So we can out these people. These are not our people.” Here’s the video:
These most recent allegations of Khartoum’s crimes against civilians – powerfully, painfully delivered by some brave survivors – stand in stark contrast to the message of non-violence that the Sudanese Foreign Ministry preached to neighboring Libya yesterday. The statement, according to Sudan Tribune, advises the Libyan government “on the necessity of ceasing the use of all forms of violence against the Libyan people.”