Sudan: Darfur Women, Girls Need Urgent Support against GBV

The surge in gender-based violence (GBV) and related pregnancies in Sudan has become a grave concern amid the ongoing conflict that began in April 2023.

Development Diaries reports that several victims of GBV in Darfur have endured unwanted pregnancies due to inadequate access to medical attention, according to findings by the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS).

The ACJPS findings also shed new light on the GBV that occurs in Sudan.

Previously documented incidents revealed that 14 women and girls in South Darfur were sexually assaulted by men in the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) uniforms, and a recent follow-up indicates that six of the women became pregnant after failing to receive medical attention.

The Sudan conflict, primarily between the RSF and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), has led to widespread sexual violence used as a weapon of war.

There have been reported acts of mass rape, sexual exploitation, and harassment, with many cases occurring as women and girls flee conflict zones or live in overcrowded shelters.

According to UN Women, this violence is often ethnically targeted, adding to the brutality and complexity of the situation​.

Figures from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) also show that the number of people who need GBV-related services in 2024 is expected to increase to 6.9 million.

What is worse is that the humanitarian response to this crisis is hampered by the volatile security situation, which restricts access to health facilities and support services.

Many survivors face immense challenges in reporting assaults and seeking help due to the stigma, fear of reprisals, and destruction of critical infrastructure.

The increase in GBV has also led to a rise in unplanned pregnancies, further complicating the health and well-being of affected women and girls.

Development Diaries calls on the government of Sudan to scale up GBV prevention and response services to address the soaring needs of women and girls in Sudan and neighbouring countries​.

Source: Dabanga

Photo source: UNMISS


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