In prisons across Syria, sexual violence is used as a method of torture against women, a Syrian human rights organization reports. The detention of women, the conditions and the violence to which they were subjected, “form part of a systematic and widespread pattern of arbitrary detention, pervasive torture and sexual violence,” Lawyers and Doctors for Human Rights (LDHR) writes.

In the report “Voices from the Dark” (pdf), the organization documents the story of several women who were medically examined by a specially trained LDHR doctor.

Syria: raped under a picture of president Assad

One women said she was tied and subjected to a rape under a picture of Bashar Al-Assad in the Office of the Head of the Republican Guards in Aleppo. Her clothes were torn from her. She was raped vaginally causing severe pain and bleeding.

In another case, a women was raped and sexually assaulted at least three times during a period of 15 days at al Mezzeh Military Airport. “During one brutal interrogation, she was stripped naked and penetrated ‘in every body cavity’, including her anus,” according to the report. Her attacker took videos while raping her and threatened to show it to the community of the victim.

Sexual violence and rape widespread in Syria conflict

LDHR notes that the stories documented “correlate with hundreds of other documented descriptions of the same detention centres, whether by men or women.” Sexual violence and the use of rape as a method of torture and terrorism are widespread in Syria and particularly pervasive in detention centers.

While the use of chemical weapons and other cruel means of warfare have attracted global attention, the prevalence of sexual violence has been largely ignored.

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