‘When the Russians saw that they were going to be beaten, they started raping’

A Ukrainian psychologist who has been taking care of victims of sexual violence since the start of the Russian offensive testifies.

There are still many testimonies of the use of rape as a weapon of war by Russian soldiers. Several organizations, including the NGO Human Rights Watch, are warning about the phenomenon. BFMTV guest this Tuesday, Kateryna Haliant, clinical psychologist at Dobrobut Hospital in Kiev, supports female rape victims in Ukraine.

“I work with women aged 16 to 24, so often minors. Most of them are from around Kiev, Boutcha or Irpin and have been raped by three to five men,” she explains.

The one who left Ukraine herself a few days ago to Estonia with her daughter, is working on the evacuation of these female rape victims from the country.

A similar procedure

“Women who want it get psychological help, but many can’t talk about it,” continues Kateryna Haliant. In fact, she talks about very violent and rape “in a humiliating way”. According to the psychologist, they all talk about the same modus operandi. First, Russian soldiers in occupied cities spot the women during the day, kill the men if necessary, and come back to the house at night.

The testimony of Elena* (name changed) attests to this. The young mother was raped for nearly 13 hours by two Russian soldiers in Kherson after being identified as the wife of a Ukrainian soldier.

“The first weeks of the invasion, the Russians gathered information about who lived in the house and looted. Then the pressure came. When the Russians understood that they would be driven back by the Ukrainian army, they started raping, especially in the absence of the men,” says Kateryna Haliant.

suicidal thoughts

Today it is difficult to know the number of Ukrainian women who have been victims of sexual violence since the beginning of the Russian offensive. “They don’t talk about it directly, explains Kateryna Haliant. Only when they consult because they no longer want to live, do we discover the rapes”.

Suicidal thoughts that do indeed appear in multiple testimonials from victims. “I would rather he had killed me instead of doing what he did,” said Vera, an 83-year-old Ukrainian who tells from CBS News raped by a Russian soldier while her disabled husband was in the house.

Kateryna Haliant explains that we must “ensure the safety of these women, in particular by evacuating them from Ukraine, then ensuring their physical and mental health and teaching them to live with it”.

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