On February 24th, Russian troops invaded Ukraine, in a move that profoundly shocked the world. Even prior to this terrible attack, as part of our work with survivors of rape as a weapon of war, the Mukwege Foundation has been supporting a network of Ukrainian women who suffered sexual violence during the all-too-often forgotten conflict in the Donbas region that started in 2014. Women were subjected to rape, mutilation of sexual organs, forced nudity, torture, and video recording of acts of sexual violence against them.
The network of survivors, known as SEMA Ukraine, has been publicly denouncing the crimes they suffered. Some of these outspoken women have already been targeted in the past for their activism, having received threats to their lives.
Since the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops, we are deeply concerned about the fate of all women in Ukraine, mothers, daughters, sisters, who might suffer similar atrocities. We are also extremely worried about the fate of SEMA Ukraine members, who are at-risk of reprisals. Yet, despite the extreme danger they face, most of them chose to stay in Ukraine to defend their country and protect their families. Listen to what they have to say in the statement below:
The Mukwege Foundation is in direct contact with activists and survivors in Ukraine who have been sharing their needs with us every day since the Russian invasion.
Some of them need to leave for their safety and that of their children: your donation can help them pay for gasoline.
Some of them had their houses destroyed by shelling: your donation can provide them with a safe shelter to rest.
Many suffered from trauma due to their past: your donation can help fund psychosocial support.
All of them are scared for the future of their children: your donation can help bring them to a safe place.