Since the start of the brutal armed conflict between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in mid-April 2023, conflict-related rape and sexual violence against women and girls in Sudan has increased significantly.
‘I have witnessed firsthand the impact of this heinous war on our country’s most vulnerable people, including women, girls and other marginalized groups’, said Dr. Hiba Ahmed Khalil Badr, Director of Emergency and Humanitarian Interventions at the Sudan Family Planning Association (SFPA), IPPF’s local partner.
The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) continue to use sexual violence against women and girls as one of the means of warfare in their conflict with the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF). Since April last year, the UN has reported an increase in all types of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) including mass rapes, gang rape, domestic violence, sexual exploitation and sexual slavery. Women and girls who are internally displaced are especially vulnerable to sexual violence in temporary shelters, border crossing or while fleeing between states for safety.
The armed crisis has worsened the existing ethnic conflict, especially in West Darfur. The Arab-dominated RSF and allied Arab militiamen have targeted non-Arab communities like the Masalit in West Darfur. They have committed sexual violence against Masalit women and girls, including forced pregnancy, forced prostitution and sexual slavery. They have also specifically targeted local women human rights defenders, subjecting them to rape and sexual violence to punish and terrorize them.