Rape at Gunpoint: A Daily Insecurity for a Woman in South Sudan

On 15th March 2017, Achol, a female resident of Wau state, was gang raped by two armed men. She was on her way home from a trip to the local market in Nyingoro village in Roc Roc dong County, to purchase food items for her children when Achol was confronted by two armed men. In what appeared to be an investigation about a nearby shooting, Achol was led away from the visibility of passersby to answer questions on where she was going and what she had witnessed. Held at gun point, she was raped by two men who then proceeded to steal all her belongings including a meager 100 SSP from her wallet. Immediately, Achol returned to the market where she sought help from the local police station. Shortly after reporting the case, one of the armed men, identified by Achol, was arrested and detained. In the midst of an ongoing investigation to find the second perpetrator, Achol has been referred to International Medical Corps established clinic for vital treatment and her case is documented for follow up.

Surrounded by widespread food insecurity and estimates of 4.8 million South Sudanese in dire need of food assistance, sexual violence remains a key concern and everyday threat to the women and girls of Wau. Forced to travel long and insecure distances in search of food for their children and households, these women are bearing the burden of an additional layer of risks and threats in the midst of a continuously evolving crisis.

These threats demand renewed fight against sexual violence in conflict and the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA) calls upon the government of South Sudan and the local government of Wau to prioritize the ongoing risk and threats that affect the daily lives of its women and girls.

SIHA calls upon the government of South Sudan, regional and international actors to address challenges of impunity through political actions, to put an end to sexual violence crimes and to strengthen the overall protection of civilians in the on-going crisis in South Sudan.

SIHA calls for endorsement and enforcement of the South Sudan National Gender Policy of 2013 which recognizes rape as a crime against humanity. It criminalizes rape and all other forms of gender based violence and ensures that impunity through customary law is addressed.

SIHA urges international and local civil society organizations to form coalitions and collaborate with the South Sudanese government and with local actors in order to: improve societal awareness on sexual violence and to provide support and social and economic rehabilitation for survivors of sexual violence.