Sexual Violence in Darfur: Recent events, a bibliography of past reports
Eric Reeves | October 16, 2018 | https://wp.me/p45rOG-2iV
A recent Washington Post oped has the blunt title of “The Trump era is full of cruelty without consequence.” While indisputably true, when it comes to Darfur, the same must be said of the previous two American administrations: neither President George W. Bush nor President Barack Obama ever made sexual violence in Darfur—despite massive evidence that this was and remains a major element of the Khartoum regime’s ongoing genocidal counter-insurgency—an issue of note. This was despite the fact of a vast amount of reporting by the most authoritative of human rights and medical experts. (The most recent meaningful report on sexual violence was in early 2016).
As a consequence, sexual violence—including the brutal rapes of girls, as well as women—continues with impunity throughout Darfur. I include here the most recent reports—all from Radio Dabanga—and an extensive annotated bibliography of reports and articles extending back to 2004.
As the father of two wonderful daughters, I find the rape—too often gang rape—of girls to be the most heinous of crimes. Very often fatal, such sexual violence causes unfathomable suffering and trauma, and will be one of the very grimmest legacies of the Darfur genocide. For virtually all the victims come from the non-Arab/African populations of Darfur, the target of Khartoum’s genocide for more than fifteen years.
If violence has diminished because of military success against the rebel forces, it nonetheless remains at extreme levels. The Darfuri refugee population in eastern Chad is perhaps our best measure of how insecurity is assessed by the non-Arab/African populations: the UNHCR figure of over 300,000 refugees is largely unchanged over the past two year: returns are consistently judged by refugees, in all twelve camps along the Chad/Darfur border, to be too dangerous, despite the desperate desire of these people to return to their homes and lands.
The downplaying of violence, and outright mendacity concerning levels of insecurity in Darfur, is the reprehensible response of an international community that has decided that Darfur doesn’t really matter that much. And the United States in this view finds plenty of company in Europe, the UN, and the African Union. Darfur has been effectively abandoned.
• One dead, three wounded in shooting, rape attempt in Tawila, North Darfur | Radio Dabanga, October 10, 2018 | TAWILA
On Tuesday, Tawila locality witnessed several attacks by herdsmen on villagers. A farmer was killed west of Fanga. Two displaced sisters were shot on their farm near Tabit. In the area of Tirbo, herders seriously injured a woman in an attempt to rape her.
Speaking to Radio Dabanga, a listener reported that three gunmen on camels opened fire on Salim Ahmed when he was riding on his camel from Kakero village to his farm on Tuesday morning.
“Salim was killed instantly,” said. “The attackers then took his camel and fled.” The incident was reported to the garrison of Kakero.
On the same morning, Hawa and Maryam Adam Musa were seriously wounded at their farm in the area of Tabit. “Four herdsmen drove a large number of cows onto their farm,” a fellow farmer said. “When the women tried to drive the animals off, the herders took their guns and shot them.” The victims were taken to a health centre for treatment.
In the area of Tirbo in Tawila locality, Maryam Yousef was seriously injured when two camel herders attempted to rape her. “When she resisted, one of them beat her with an axe,” one of her relatives told this station. “She had to be taken to a health with a severe head injury and a broken hand.”
• Three West Darfur schoolgirls raped | October 9, 2018 | MURNEI
Three basic school students were raped near Murnei in West Darfur on Saturday. One suspect has been detained. A witness told Radio Dabanga that a number of people believed to be herders attacked three girls aged 9, 12, and 14, while they were collecting firewood at Aishbara area west of Murnei and repeatedly raped them. The witness said that one of the girls was taken to El Geneina hospital for treatment.
• Woman stabbed to death after rape attempt in Central Darfur | September 25, 2018 | DELEIG / TUR
A woman has been killed following an attempt to rape her in Deleig, Central Darfur, on Monday. Two people were wounded by gunshots in Tur. Two gunmen stabbed 25-year-old Arafa Abdelshakur Abdallah to death at Kankoli area, north of Deleig. One of the relatives of the deceased told Radio Dabanga that two men attacked Arafa and her mother Hawa Ibrahim while they went out to Kankoli. The unknown assailants attempted to rape Arafa and her mother confronted the perpetrators, upon which one of the attackers stabbed Arafa with a knife and killed her instantly.
On Sunday, armed men opened fire and seriously wounded two people at Tur in Central Darfur. Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that the perpetrators rode on horses and wore military uniforms when they attacked a group of people on their way back to their villages after shopping in Tur.
• Sisters raped on farm near North Darfur camp | September 14, 2018 | ZAMZAM
Three men have raped two displaced girls on a farm in El Fasher locality on Wednesday, and raped them for more than three hours. The aunt of the victims told Radio Dabanga that three herders attacked the two sisters, aged 15 and 17 years, while they were tilling a farm at Tayarat. The area is close to Zamzam camp for displaced people. They raped them at gunpoint for more than three hours. She explained that the victims were taken to the Tabit health centre, which let them be transferred to El Fasher because of their critical health condition.
Another family member of the girls said that a team of relatives and camp residents decided to chase the perpetrators, who have managed to flee to a settlement in the south.
Earlier this month armed herders opened fire and seriously wounded five people at Kurfla area, 5 km west of Tabit. A family member of one of the victims told Radio Dabanga yesterday that eight herders on camels opened fire on a group of displaced people who returned to Kurfla for farming.
On August 7, herders attacked a group of farmers south of Tabit when they tried to drive away the herders’ livestock, upon which they opened fire. This resulted in the killing of a woman.
• South Darfur school teacher killed trying to prevent rape | September 9, 2018 | MERSHING
A secondary school teacher was shot dead in South Darfur’s Mershing locality on Thursday. Six suspects have been detained. Speaking to Radio Dabanga, an eyewitness reported that a group of gunmen stormed a farm in the area of Jeref in Mershing. “Three of them wanted to rape a number of young women who were working on the farm,” he said. “When the women called for help, teacher Mohamed El Zein rushed to save them. The attackers immediately killed him with three shots.”
The epidemic of rape in Darfur has become so widespread that even Radio Dabanga finds that incidents of sexual violence must often be included as part of a compendium of news stories:
• Sudan news: Two killed in robbery, UXO blast; five girls raped | October 5, 2018 | ABU JUBEIHA / TAWILA / EL DINDIR
A man was killed and another wounded in a robbery in South Kordofan. A villager died when a war remnant detonated in North Darfur. In eastern Sudan, dozens of people took to the streets in protest against the rape of a 10-year-old girl on Thursday.
Mohamed Eisa was shot dead and El Fadul Abdallah was seriously injured when an armed man suddenly shot at them near Seragiya in South Kordofan’s Abu Jubeiha locality on Thursday morning. “They were on their way on Eisa’s motorcycle from Abu Jubeiha town to Seragiya,” a relative of Eisa told Radio Dabanga. “The robber then took the motorcycle and fled.”
In Tawila in North, 22-year-old Ibrahim Yagoub died on Thursday morning when an unexploded ordinance (UXO) detonated. A relative of the victim reported to this station that Yagoub was on his way to his farm in Mashrou Abuzeid, when his donkey stepped on an UXO. He and the donkey died instantly.
The residents of El Nasir district in El Dindir town in Sennar staged a demonstration on Thursday in protest against the rape of a 10-year-old school girl. She was the fifth girl raped in El Dindir locality in less than two months. Three girls were raped in Takamabri village and a girl was molested near the village of Hawya, one of the protesters told this station.
• Soccer fan killed in riot in northern Sudan | September 7, 2018 | KOKA / EL RAHAD / GIREIDA
Two people were killed, one of them by policemen, in northern Sudan and Kordofan. Four people sustained injuries in an armed robbery in North Darfur. Abdelrahman El Gurashi was shot dead by police in a riot that broke out during a regional soccer match at Koka in Sudan’s Northern State this week. A number of others were wounded, including police personnel.
The incident, that happened during a match between El Turaa and Kajbar teams, has been condemned by the Nubian community. The leaders of El Mahas have demanded an investigation into those involved in the shooting.
In El Rahad in North Kordofan, a woman student was killed by unknown assailants, according to a source in the area. The attackers reportedly first tried to rape Farira Suleiman Yahya. More details about the incident are not yet known.
Rape has become increasingly prevalent in other of the marginalized areas of Sudan:
• Girl of 7 raped, murdered in Sudan’s North Kordofan | August 29, 2018 | EL OBEID
The body of a seven-year-old girl has been retrieved from a toilet well in El Obeid, capital of Sudan’s North Kordofan. Coroners say she was raped before being murdered.
Witnesses from the town told Radio Dabanga that the girl went missing from her home on Monday. The family informed the police of her disappearance, which prompted a search. The girl’s lifeless body was found dumped in a toilet well in the town on Tuesday. A medical autopsy has confirmed that the girl was raped before she was murdered. No further details have been released in the interests of the ongoing investigation. Police have not yet identified any suspects.
Bibliography of sexual violence in Darfur:
 “Continuing Mass Rape of Girls in Darfur: The most heinous crime generates no international outrage,” January 2016 | Eric Reeves, author; Maya Baca, research and editing | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1QG
[Arabic translation of this report | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Rr ]
[Arabic names for key locations on maps | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Si ]
 “Mass Rape in North Darfur: Sudanese Army Attacks against Civilians in Tabit [North Darfur], Human Rights Watch, February 2015 | https://www.hrw.org/report/2015/02/11/mass-rape-north-darfur/sudanese-army-attacks-against-civilians-tabit
Over the course of 36 hours beginning on October 30, 2014, Sudanese army troops carried out a series of attacks against the civilian population of the town of Tabit in North Darfur, Sudan. The attacks included the mass rape of women and girls and the arbitrary detention, beating and ill-treatment of scores of people. The government of Sudan has denied that any crimes occurred and has prevented the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) from carrying out a credible investigation of the incident.
From research conducted remotely in November and December 2014, this report documents 27 first-hand accounts of rape, often by multiple perpetrators, and credible information about an additional 194 incidents of rape. Based on more than 130 interviews, the report provides a detailed account of the serious violations of international law that took place in Tabit from October 30 to November 1.
Sudanese government forces carried out the rapes and other abuses during three distinct military operations against the town during the 36-hour period: the first beginning the evening of Thursday, October 30; the second on the morning of Friday, October 31; and the third starting that evening and continuing until the following morning, November 1. Human Rights Watch found no evidence of a presence of any rebel force in the town immediately prior to or during the attacks.
 “Sudan, Darfur: Rape as a Weapon of War,” Amnesty International, July 19, 2004 | http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR54/076/2004]
One of the very earliest human rights accounts of what had already reached epidemic proportions. This lengthy report by Amnesty is authoritative, based on very substantial field research, and compelling in its analysis and framing of issues in terms of international humanitarian and human rights law. It has never been the case that the international community was unaware of the scale of sexual violence and rape in Darfur; such awareness simply did not translate into meaningful responses.
 “Socio-Psychological Impact of the Darfur War on Women and Children,” Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research 19 (5): 697-701, 2014 ISSN 1990-9233 © IDOSI Publications, 2014 (authors: Attaelmanan, Anwar Yousif, Jiang Hengkun, and Elsadig Musa Ahmed)
This article discusses the psychological and social impact of the war in Darfur on women, children, and family as well as the heavy foreign presence and establishment of an aid economy. It also proposes processes required to address the crisis in Darfur.
 “A Biocultural Approach to Rape Committed During Armed Conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Maya Baca, Unpublished manuscript, University of Massachusetts Boston, May 2014 | http://sudanreeves.org/2016/01/09/a-biocultural-approach-to-rape-committed-during-armed-conflicts-in-sub-saharan-africa-by-maya-baca/
This essay briefly illustrates the complexity of addressing rape in conflict-affected areas, by discussing the identities of perpetrators and the social and epidemiological impact of sexual violence.
 Bashir, Halima, Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfur (Random House, 2009)
Bashir, a Zaghawa woman trained as a doctor, was herself savagely raped and tortured because of her courageous medical response to the mass rape of schoolgirls in North Darfur. This searing account takes the reader to the very heart of darkness in Darfur.
 “The Crushing Burden of Rape: Sexual Violence in Darfur,” MSF-Holland, March 2005 | http://www.nsvrc.org/publications/reports/crushing-burden-rape-sexual-violence-darfur/).
In the wake of the report’s release, Khartoum arrested and eventually expelled the two most senior MSF-Holland officials working in Sudan. The MSF report, with an extraordinary body of first-hand evidence, documents more than 500 cases of rape; this report figured in Khartoum’s decision to expel the organization, along with twelve others, in March 2009.
 “Genocidal Rape and Assault in Darfur,” Eric Reeves (Dirksen Senate Office Building & Rayburn House Office Building, July 21, 2005)
Sponsored by members of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus & the Congressional Caucus on Women’s Issues. Testimony of Eric Reeves, Smith College: “Responding to Sexual Violence in Darfur.
 “The Use of Rape as a Weapon of War in the conflict in Darfur, Sudan,” Gingerich, Tara, JD, MA and Jennifer Leaning, MD, SMH, (October 2004).
Prepared for the US Agency for International Development/OTI under the auspices of the Harvard School of Public Health and the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights. A powerful study of sexual violence in Darfur published in fall 2004, it deserves the closest attention.
 “Five Years On: No Justice for Victims of Sexual Violence in Darfur,” Human Rights Watch, April 2008 | https://www.hrw.org/report/2008/04/06/five-years/no-justice-sexual-violence-darfur
from the Introduction
Five years into the armed conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region, women and girls living in displaced persons camps, towns, and rural areas remain extremely vulnerable to sexual violence. Sexual violence continues to occur throughout the region, both in the context of continuing attacks on civilians, and during periods of relative calm. Those responsible are usually men from the Sudanese security forces, militias, rebel groups, and former rebel groups, who target women and girls predominantly (but not exclusively) from Fur, Zaghawa, Masalit, Berti, Tunjur, and other non-Arab ethnicities.
 “Sexual violence and its consequences among displaced persons in Darfur and Chad,” Human Rights Watch, April 2005
from the Introduction
Since early 2003, Sudanese government forces and government-backed ethnic militias known as “Janjaweed” have committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and ‘ethnic cleansing’ in the Darfur region of Sudan. They have targeted for abuse civilians belonging to the same ethnic groups as members of two rebel movements, the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).
Rape and sexual violence against women and girls has been a prominent feature of the “ethnic cleansing” campaign carried out by government forces and militias, both during and following displacement in Darfur. Once displaced into camps in Darfur, or into refugee camps in Chad, women and girls continue to suffer sexual and gender-based violence. As discussed below, rape and sexual violence have numerous social, economic and medical consequences, including increasing the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS as a result of the violence.
 “Association of Sexual Violence and Human Rights Violations With Physical and Mental Health in Territories of the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo,” Authors: Johnson, Kirsten, MD, MPH, Jennifer Scott, MD, Bigy Rughita, MSc, Michael Kisielewski, MA, Jana Asher, MSc, Ricardo Ong, MD, and Lynn Lawry, MD, MSPH, MSc | August 4, 2010
Examining specific territories in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, this study found that adult survivors and perpetrators of prevalent sexual violence and other human rights abuses were both male and female. In addition to challenging the international community to better address female perpetrators and male survivors in policy regarding rehabilitation and justice, this study disputes the findings of institution-based studies that sexual violence perpetrated by civilians is on the rise.
 “Nowhere to Turn: Failure to Protect, Support and Assure Justice for Darfuri Women,” Physicians for Human Rights, May 2009 | http://darfuriwomen.phrblog.org/nowhere-to-turn/
The psychological, physical, and social destructiveness of rape as a weapon of war can scarcely be overstated. As deployed in Darfur, it is meant to destroy family structures within the non-Arab or African populations that have, overwhelmingly, been the target of campaigns of rape. The best account of the physical and mental devastation occasioned by rape in Darfur is a May 2009 study by Physicians for Human Rights, “Nowhere to Turn: Failure to Protect, Support and Assure Justice for Darfuri Women.” The effects of eight years of displacement by genocidal counter-insurgency warfare have left civilians suffering from a wide range of severe mental disorders, particularly girls and women who have been victims of rape. In its meticulously researched study, PHR chronicled in soul-destroying detail some of the devastation among Darfuri refugee girls and women in eastern Chad:
Researchers asked women to rate their physical and mental health status in Darfur and now in Chad on a 1-5 scale with 1 being “very good” and 5 being “poor.” Women reported a marked deterioration in their physical health status since leaving Darfur, with an average ranking of 3.99 for health in Chad versus 2.06 for Darfur.
Even more alarmingly, the PHR study found:
The study indicated a marked deterioration in self-reported mental health, where the average score was 4.90. “I am sad every day (since leaving Darfur). I feel not well in my skin,” explained one respondent. Women who experienced rape (confirmed or highly probable) were three times more likely to report suicidal thoughts than were women who did not report sexual violence.
 “Medical evidence of widespread torture in Darfur released by PHR in PLoS Medicine,” from Physicians for Human Rights (April 4, 2012). Lead author Dr. Mohammed Ahmed Eisa is the former director of the Amel Centre for the Treatment of Darfur, Nyala South Darfur and winner of the Robert F. Kennedy award for Human Rights.
90 percent of patients at Darfuri center for torture victims were attacked by Government/Janjaweed
Today’s issue of PLoS Medicine features a peer-reviewed study led by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) that provides rare forensic medical evidence of widespread, sustained torture and other human rights violations by the Government of Sudan (GoS) and allied Janjaweed forces against non-Arabic-speaking civilians in South Darfur.
In the study, PHR’s forensic medical experts reviewed the medical records of 325 patients seen in 2004-2006 at a clinic in Nyala, South Darfur for torture victims. The documentation from this review of medical records provides important validation of extensive testimonies gathered by many organizations and UN agencies over the years.
“The killing, rape, torture, and other human rights violations documented in our study appear to have been committed as part of widespread, systematic and coordinated attacks directed against non-Arab speaking civilian populations in Darfur,” said Vincent Iacopino, Senior Medical Advisor at PHR and senior author of the study. “These apparent crimes against humanity demand investigation, accountability and justice. Inaction in the face of such inhumanity would be complicity by default.”
Key findings of the study include:
90% of patients from 12 different non-Arabic-speaking tribes alleged that they had been attacked by GoS and/or Janjaweed forces in 23 rural areas across Darfur;
Approximately one-half (49%) of all women disclosed that they had been sexually assaulted, and one-half of sexual assaults were described as having occurred in close proximity to a camp for internally displaced persons.
“This study underscores the necessity of peace and reconciliation for the people of Darfur,” said Dr. Mohammed Ahmed Eisa, Sudan Fellow at PHR and co-author of the study. “Hundreds of thousands of civilians who have been attacked and tortured during the past decade are living in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps and desperately need security and protection. Once they are safe, these survivors deserve compensation and restitution for what they have endured…”
The other study authors are Alexander Tsai, Sondra Crosby, Susannah Sirkin, Michele Heisler, and Jennifer Leaning.
 Public Summary of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor’s Application under Article 58, seeking an arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir, charging three counts of the crime of genocide, five counts of crimes against humanity, two counts of war crimes: No.: ICC-02/05 Date: 14 July 2008 | http://www.icc-cpi.int/iccdocs/doc/doc529671.pdf
See especially paragraphs 14 – 28 (“Pattern of Attacks”) for details of the evidence assembled by the ICC Prosecutor, including substantial evidence of systematic, ethnically-targeted rape. See also March 4, 2009 arrest warrant for al-Bashir issued by Pre-Trial Chamber 1 of the ICC (http://www.icc-cpi.int/iccdocs/doc/doc639078.pdf), and the July 2010 arrest warrant issued by Pre-Trial Chamber 1, confirming the charge of genocide (http://www.icc-cpi.int/iccdocs/doc/doc907142.pdf).
 “The Physical Element or Actus Reus of Genocide,” William Schabas, Genocide in International Law: The Crime of Crimes. (Cambridge UP, 2009)
This chapter explains the physical element (actus reus) and mental element (mens rea) that define the crime of genocide in the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. It has clear relevance for the issue of sexual violence, particularly rape, in Darfur.
 “Respondent-driven sampling to assess mental health outcomes, stigma and acceptance among women raising children born from sexual violence-related pregnancies in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo,” (BMJ Open 2015;5:e007057 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-007057 (Authors: Scott, Jennifer, Shada Rouhani, Ashley Greiner, Katherine Albutt, Philipp Kuwert, Michele R Hacker, Michael VanRooyen, and Susan Bartels), April 2015)
This study found high rates of depression, PTSD, anxiety and suicidality among women raising children from sexual violence-related pregnancies (SVRPs) in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. These findings and the data related to stigma toward the mother and child suggest that decreasing community stigma and increasing support to families following sexual violence may improve mental health in this population.
 “Rape in Darfur: A History of Predation,” November 2015 | Waging Peace | http://sudanhr.org/blog/2015/11/19/rape-in-darfur-a-history-of-predation-by-wagingpeace-2/ ]
 RAPE AS A CONTINUING WEAPON OF WAR IN DARFUR: Reports, bibliography of studies, a compendium of incidents, Eric Reeves, 4 March 2012 | http://sudanreeves.org/2012/03/04/rape-as-a-continuing-weapon-of-war-in-darfur-reports-bibliography-of-studies-a-compendium-of-incidents/
Sexual violence and rape in Darfur have ceased to command the attention they once had—not because this brutal epidemic has ended but because of the absence of human rights reporting, news reporting, and the intimidation of humanitarian organizations ensures that we hear very little about one of the most brutal features of the Darfur genocide.
This brief provides  a select bibliography of reports and studies examining the realities of rape and sexual violence in Darfur (in progress);  an overview of what was already evident of these realities from mid-2005;  a lengthy compendium of reports of specific incidents of sexual violence and rape. This compendium is also a work in progress, extending back into report archives, and grimly forward as rape continues to be reported on a nearly daily basis by Radio Dabanga, despite various assertions that Darfur is settling into a more “peaceful” state.