Womens' rights activists in a simulation during a workshop on gender-based violence in eastern DRC, December 2009
Womens' rights activist at a meeting on responses to sexual violence in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, December 2009

Sexual and other forms of gender-based violence

The assumptions of male and female roles are of particular concern in the context of torture and related crimes under international law. Women and girls’ experience of torture can be tied to their gender: the forms of their torture may be gender specific, the reasons why they are tortured may be connected with gender specific inequalities or roles, and women and girls’ access to a remedy and reparation for the harm they suffered may hold particular challenges. The experience of women and girls in times of conflict in particular can be inextricably tied to pre-existing societal inequities; their positioning in society means that conflict and crimes will have a differentiated impact on their lives and on the process of recovery.

It has been recognised in international law that rape and other forms of sexual violence against both sexes may constitute a form of torture.  REDRESS is involved both in the development of international standards in accountability and reparation for such crimes, and in pursuing individual cases before domestic and international mechanisms. Cases address both the crimes and the barriers to justice faced by the victims - including the operation of a statute of limitation to bar complaints of rape, and discrimination in response to sexual violence by private individuals.

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