There are no precise figures on war rape. Some statistics can be provided but the proportion of this phenomenon is so immense that it remains to be put into perspective. Real work remains to be done to identify the exact extent of war rape in the world, and this precisely what WWoW plans to conduct.
80,000 in Nanjing, China in 1937, and 200,000 in Bangladesh in 1971, 100,000 in Guatemala, and 500,000 in Rwanda in 1994, 60,000 in Sierra Leone and Bosnia and Herzegovina, between 3,000 and 5,000 in Kenya and Zimbabwe in 2008 during elections, 10,000 in Guinea, and between 200,000 and 600,000 in the DRC and Sudan.
Equally frightening figures in Libya, Syria, and the Central African Republic, Sri Lanka and also in Nigeria with Boko Haram.
In Iraq, it is estimated today that more than 7,000 Yezidi women are sexual slaves of Daech; 3,000 of whom are still prisoners. These figures are those documented and must be multiplied by 3 or 5 times to correspond to reality. In Burma, rape used as a weapon of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya already affects more than 50,000 people.
No figures to date can be considered reliable as no comprehensive study has yet been conducted. Despite the scale of the phenomenon, and despite the fact that international criminal institutions such as the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and more recently, the International Criminal Court have established that rape is a constituent element of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide – yet too few trials are being conducted. The main reason? The difficulty of gathering evidence (testimony from victims, evidence of orders given at a high level) but also and above all, the lack of pragmatic and effective responses.
Furthermore, too little is done in caring for victims: consider the singularity of the trauma generated, support them with simple, targeted and positive actions, enable them to leave their position as victims and operate the resilience they need to find their place in their society.
Various NGOs have addressed sexual violence in conflict: Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, FIDH, TRIAL International, CIVITAS MAXIMAS, REDRESS, and many others. They work on the one hand to sensitize the international community and civil society on this subject, and on the other hand to care for the victims, and to prosecute the aggressors… Nevertheless, if these NGOs have identified this crucial issue to date, there is no unifying pole of expertise and actions entirely devoted to war rape.
With the exception of WWoW and recently the Mukwege Foundation (created in 2016, and with which WWoW works in coordination) no organisation dedicated to the unique issue of war rape exists to date.
Through the development of the Back Up tool, WWoW intends to provide a global response, create a solid network and provide adequate tools to victims and professionals. Indeed, the Back Up will, on the one hand, allow uniting the professional actors involved in these issues; on the other hand; allow the survivors and the communities themselves to fight this scourge of which they are the victims.