A harrowing report by The Associated Press reveals the brutal and systemic sexual violence that has been inflicted on Rohingya women and girls by Myanmar’s armed forces.
The Rohingya, a minority Muslim group, have been persecuted for decades in the majority Buddhist Myanmar, but tensions have ramped up in recent months. Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Myanmar, has come under heavy fire for failing to take significant action to stop the relentless campaign of violence against Rohingya civilians that has forced some 620,000 Rohingya to have fled to neighboring Bangladesh.
More than 21 displaced women and girls shared horrifying stories of sexual violence with the AP. Last month, a U.N. envoy told reporters that Myanmar’s armed forces are using rape as a “calculated tool of terror” to exterminate the Rohingya group; the first-hand accounts given to the AP offer stark support for this assessment.
One woman, identified only as F, said that soldiers burst into her home one night, killed her husband, and raped her repeatedly. Months after the attack, she discovered she was pregnant, but her ordeal was far from over. While F was sleeping at a neighbor’s house, soldiers broke down the door. F was raped again.
M told the AP that she was eight months pregnant when soldiers charged into her house. They kicked her belly as they raped her. That night, she gave birth to a stillborn baby girl.
N was 17 years old when soldiers broke their way into her family home. They forced her parents to watch as they raped her. She bled for six days afterwards. Another woman, also identified as N, was knocked out by the soldiers who raped her — she doesn’t know how many perpetrators there were, but she bled for eight days after the attack.
“I have nothing left,” she told the AP. “All I have left are my words.”
The AP also published a video accompaniment to its story, which features some of the women telling their stories. You can watch it here:
Read the full story at The Associated Press.