United Nations: Male victims of sexual violence in conflict zones suffer from shame, stigma and health complications, participants at a UN meeting concluded Thursday.
"The crippling repercussions of rape in war are devastating for women, but our sons and brothers who are victims also suffer in silence," said Zainab Hawa Bangura, Secretary-General`s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.
"They too experience health complications related to sexual violence in conflict such as physical injuries, sexually transmitted diseases and psychological stress and trauma," she said while addressing a workshop in New York.
The event, co-hosted by the United States Mission to the UN, brought together representatives of UN agencies, civil society organizations, legal experts, medical practitioners, researchers and survivors from around the world to discuss what could be done to help men and boys who have faced sexual violence in conflict.
Research shows that sexual violence directed at men has taken place in more than 25 countries in the last few decades and a recent survey in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) found that 15 per cent of male respondents had been victims of sexual violence in conflict.
The workshop identified addressing inadequacies in legal frameworks that ignore or criminalize male victims as well as tackling gaps in research to foster a better understanding of the causes, consequences and scope of male-directed sexual violence as requiring immediate attention.
The need of access to medical and psychosocial services that take into offer survivor-centred assistance was also discussed during the workshop.
The meeting`s outcome will be presented in a report that will outline the most pressing needs in the area of sexual violence in conflict zones against men and boys and how various stakeholders can best address them.
"Acts of sexual violence leave visible and invisible scars that have long lasting and devastating repercussions," said Bangura.
"Therefore, we must address sexual violence in conflict in all its manifestations and stamp it out in every corner of the globe, stand up for whomever is affected by it and go after anyone who commits it."