Screening for Violence, South Sudan


"The history of warzone rape has been a history of denial," Zainab Hawa Bangura

(former Special Representative to the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict).

Artists and Dancers' Respond To Recent Media Headline:

Research that provides an insight into the extent of sexual violence in conflict-related settings, particularly of the numbers of men who have endured all forms of sexual violence, is rare. 

Research undertaken by trained first responders, permits humanitarian agencies and emergency relief coordinators to design and plan the delivery of appropriate medical and psychosocial services.

In August 2017, a working paper was published by highly skilled first responders with years of experience working with victims and survivors of conflict-related sexual violence: Hidden Realities: Screening for Experiences of Violence amongst War-Effected South Sudanese Refugees in northern Uganda

The researchers travelled in challenging circumstances to reach the South Sudanese refugees, and then published their findings to alert humanitarian agencies responding to the trauma.

On August 8, 2017, the news outlet Hot In Juba reported that the President of South Sudan's press-secretary had responded to the working paper's findings by stating: "Only a fool would believe that men have been raped in the South Sudan war."



22% of women and just under 4% of men disclosed experience of rape

Present humanitarian practice is to wait for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence to come forward for assistance. Most do not, resulting in prolonged suffering and unwarranted obstacles to individual and household recovery and self-reliance in the medium term, and obstacles to peace-building and post-conflict recovery in the longer term.

The fieldwork, conducted in very different sites hosting south Sudanese refugees, sampled a total of 938 adult South Sudanese refugees (46% male, 54% female).

The study found that systematic screening is possible and is welcomed by survivors and seen as a positive departure from existing practice of no stakeholders asking them what happened to them before they ever reached Uganda. Questions are particularly welcome when linked to adequate referral mechanisms for complex conditions arising from violence.

Although levels of physical and sexual violence disclosed in this project are high (e.g. 22% of women and just under 4% of men disclosed experience of rape), they do not reflect full disclosure… Reporting levels would almost certainly increase once the connection between disclosure during screening and subsequent medical support became clear.

A total of 190 persons (93 male, 97 female), representing 1 in 5 of all persons screened of both genders, were referred for further support as a result of the screening. While the majority of these were made to existing Implementing Partners, a total of 27 men and 32 women, were referred for private treatment.

The referrals outside the existing Implementing Partner framework were made in three scenarios:

a)  The person had already sought medical help for a condition on related to experiences of violence, but this had brought no change 

b)  The person’s condition on required in-depth assessment, including scans and/ or x-rays, and these were not readily available through the existing medical services 

c)  The person’s condition required operations of a kind that were not readily available through the existing medical services 

The medical treatment, support to these 59 patients and their attendants, and transport between settlement and treatment facility, cost a total of $3,382 representing an average cost of $57/referral. The highest cost for medical treatment was $196, the lowest $13.

The types of injuries disclosed by men that were deemed to require referral included: Swelling in the genitals due to torture and beating and tying of the private parts and/ or to rape; Difficulties in urinating due to torture/genital tying/genital beating/rape; erectile and other sexual dysfunction due to rape; abdominal swellings due to rape; rectal prolapse due to rape; itching/swelling of the anus and/or hemorrhoids due to rape; abdominal, chest and waist pains following rape; hepatitis B exposure due to sexual violence; multiple injuries (e.g. head, chest, shoulder, collar-bone, thigh, knee, arm, retained bullets etc.) arising from violence.

For women, injuries disclosed that required referral included: Vaginal and anal itching, rectal prolapse and swelling in the private parts due to rape; Reproductive health problems and possible STIs suggested by abdominal pain/vaginal swellings/discharge of smelly fluids/vaginal and anal tearing/difficulties passing both urine and stool; miscarriages; abnormal periods accompanied by a lot of pain, excessive bleeding and longer durations (10+ days); body pains (eg. chest and waist pain, lower back pain, hip pain, lower abdominal pain and chest pain with features of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease as a result of torture and sexual violence, leg pains); Back injuries as a result of torture and trauma to the back and lower limbs and sexual violence; Waist injuries due to torture where the victims was stepped on; Swelling in the chest around the breast as a result of being stabbed on the chest using bayonet; complications sustained as a result of bomb blasts in South Sudan. 

Donations to 'Real Stories Gallery Foundation' will go directly to support leadership initiatives

working with male survivors of conflict-related sexual violence. Thank you. 

Real Stories Gallery Foundation is a registered 501c3 charity in the USA.

Donations made by U.S. tax-payers are tax-deductible. EIN number: 80-0575894

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