London – The All Survivors Project, hosted by the Williams Institute, commends interventions made by some UN member states and international organisations to highlight the gender specific realities of sexual violence against men and boys at the UN Security Council Open Debate on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict through Empowerment, Gender Equality and Access to Justice, under the Presidency of Peru, on 16th April 2018.
Over one third of UN member states and international organisations who intervened in the Open Debate referred to conflict-related sexual violence against men and boys. This constitutes an 8% increase in the number of states who recognized this issue last year. Those who called for greater recognition of this issue in 2018 are: Argentina, Belgium, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, European Union, France, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Maldives, Mali, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Poland, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland [See Figure 2].
Particularly noteworthy was the call made by the Representative of Poland who urged “states to remove any structural and legal obstacles that prevent the investigation and prosecution of rape and other forms of sexual violence permitted against men and boys.”
In line with the 2018 Report of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict (S/2018/250), Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohamed acknowledged that “both genders endure the terrific brutality of sexual violence in conflict” and that “sexual violence is also a very common method of torture of detainees and in many conflicts detainees are men and boys.”
In her remarks to the Security Council, Ms. Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on Sexual Violence in Conflict, noted, “Male survivors of sexual violence have had their social status, identity and sexual orientation called into question. In some countries, this can even result in their arrest.”
Responding to sexual violence requires a strong, multi-sectoral approach involving the provision of health services, protection, psychosocial support and access to justice for survivors. Although there is growing recognition that sexual violence against men and boys is common, there is often little help available to male survivors whether from the state, humanitarian stakeholders (UN and I/NGOs) or by civil society and community based organisations.
“Rather than accepting under-reporting of sexual violence against males as an inevitable consequence of stigma, careful inquiry and investigation is necessary, and specific strategies should be adopted to encourage and support all survivors to safely and confidentially report and seek assistance,” said Hogg. “If conflictrelated sexual violence, whether against males or females, is denied and suppressed, it will almost inevitably continue in one form or another,” she added.
All Survivors Project seeks to ensure that all survivors of sexual violence in situations of conflict and displacement receive equitable access to services, remedies, and reparations.