Sydney: Rape has been a ‘significant’ weapon of Syria’s civil war, and is the ‘primary’ factor in the exodus of women and children refugees to neighbouring Jordan and Lebanon, an aid group has said.
The US-based International Rescue Committee (IRC), in its report titled ‘Syria: A Regional Crisis’, described rape ‘as a significant and disturbing feature of the Syrian civil war’.
It said that Syrians identified rape as a primary reason their families fled the country, the Herald Sun reports.
The report said that many Syrian women and girls relayed accounts of being attacked in public or in their homes, primarily by armed men.
These rapes, sometimes by multiple perpetrators, often occur in front of family members, the report said.
IRC said that Syrian survivors rarely report sexual violence due to ‘the stigma and social norms around the dishonour that rape brings to women and girls and their families’.
Many interviewed by the IRC said survivors fear retribution by their assailants, being killed by "shamed" family members, or in the case of girls, being married off at an early age "to safeguard their honour,” the report added.