2,891 reported incidences of sexual violence in mogadishu

Sexual violence remains widespread across Somalia, notably in the south central regions. The frequency of sexual violence increases during military offensives, particularly at checkpoints. According to the gender based violence information and management system, 2,891 incidents of gender based violence were reported between January and August 2014, in the capital of Mogadishu alone. Of these, 28% were cases of rape. These numbers are regarded as a gross underestimation, as the fear of stigma and reprisal prevents victims from coming forward.

Forced marriage is a common practice, especially in areas under the control of Al-Shabaab. Survivors are frequently forced to marry their rapists as a form of “restitution,” ordered by customary courts. In the Puntland region, many women and girls subjected to sexual violence in displacement camps avoid pursuing legal action for fear of reprisals by their attackers. In the few cases where survivors choose to report, they are required to pay fees to the police to open a case file and to cover the costs of feeding the accused in detention. The main perpetrators of sexual violence are unidentified armed men, though there are also reports implicating the Somali National Army and the Somali police force, in addition to Al-Shabaab.  

 Youth Amb. Ilwad Elman in Somalia

Youth Amb. Ilwad Elman in Somalia

Troops from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) have also been accused of sexual exploitation and abuse. In May 2014, the Ministry of Women and Human Rights Development, with support from the United Nations, developed a national action plan to combat sexual violence in conflict. The Government also drafted a bill on sexual violence.

Youth to End Sexual Violence works closely with grassroots youth and women's organizations in Somalia. Ms. Ilwad Elman is the incumbent Youth Ambassador for Somalia on Sexual Violence in Conflict. She also serves as the Director of Programs and Development at the Elman Peace & Human Rights Center in Mogadishu.

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