Rape in South Sudan: A horrific crime happening on a daily basis

On Sunday 28 May at approximately 2PM, Anthony, a 22-year old woman and resident of Wau County, was raped by two men dressed in Sudan’s People Liberation Army (SPLA) uniform. Ms. Anthony was on her way home to see her seven month old baby – left in the care of her grandmother when she was confronted by the two men. She was forced to sit down and asked where she had come from and whether she had seen a boy wearing a white shirt. She told the men that she had not seen any boy and requested that they release her. However, the men then held at gunpoint, and forced to sit on a motorcycle and taken to a bush where she was beaten and raped. Abandoned by the perpetrators, Ms. Anthony suffered bleeding from the injuries sustained. A few hours later, she was found by firewood collectors who brought her to her home. The incident has been reported to SIHA offices in Wau town for referral and Ms. Anthony is presently awaiting medical assistance from the International Medical Corps.

A similar incident was reported on 15th March 2017, by SIHA in a statement titled “Rape at Gunpoint: A Daily Insecurity for a Woman in South Sudan”. Hence, SIHA remains deeply concerned about the increase in rape incidents and emphasizes the need to renew the fight against sexual violence in conflict areas.

SIHA acknowledges the government’s efforts in fighting sexual violence in conflict areas and recognizes that thirteen South Sudanese soldiers have gone on trial for raping foreign aid workers. However SIHA believes that continued efforts have to be made. As such;

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 ongoing 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 ensure that impunity through customary law is addressed.