Dr. Sarah Chynoweth, a Research Fellow at the WSD Handa Center for Human Rights & International Justice, is the author of a new UN High Comissioner for Refugees publication, "We Keep It in Our Heart" - Sexual Violence Against Men and Boys in the Syria Crisis.
As the civil war in Syria further deteriorates, accounts of systematic human rights abuses continue to emerge, including torture, starvation, and widespread sexual violence against civilians and combatants. More than five million refugees have fled to neighbouring countries in search of safety, yet they continue to face challenges of poverty, discrimination, as well as sexual violence and exploitation. Some attention has been given to women and girls who have suffered sexual violence in Syria and in displacement; however, less is known about male survivors, including ways to meet their needs.
This exploratory study examined sexual violence against men and boys in the Syria crisis and their access to services in Jordan, Lebanon, and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI).
The study identified four patterns of sexual violence against males: confict-related sexual violence against men and boys in Syria; sexual violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons; sexual violence against boys in countries of asylum; and sexual exploitation of boys and men in countries of asylum.