Sexual violence is a weapon of war. In Darfur, rape became the main military strategy of the government-backed militias. Sometimes, only the threat of this horrific act is enough to make people flew from their villages; abandon their homes, community life, and their place of economic independence.

Nevertheless, even when everything is left behind, people in Darfur cannot escape sexual violence. Once in camps for internally displaced near the border of Chad or in refugee camps in Chad, civilians are still under the constant threat of rape, sexual slavery, sexual torture, mutilation and rape-resulting pregnancies.

Traditionally, the collection of firewood is a women’s task. UNHCR supplies camps with food, blankets and tents, but not with fuel needed for the preparation of food. Therefore, women have to leave the protected land to collect branches and bush wood, exposing themselves to rape. Sexual violence does not only leave a trauma and medical consequences, but it also excludes women from their social network. In Sudan, no matter the context of a civil war, the women are still blamed for the rape.

Women who become pregnant as a result of rape are at risk of being abandoned by their husbands, rendering both the women and their children extremely vulnerable. Some infants may be abandoned or neglected by their mothers due to attitudes within the community or the response from the local authorities.” (Human Rights Watch, 2005)

As human rights activist Tomo Križnar explained, the stigma of rape pushed many women out of their communities. Now, they wonder through the region avoiding rebel factions and trying to survive. On his recent trip to the border area of Chad and Sudan Križnar meet a group of out casted women. “I was completely astonished on their capability to survive by subsisting upon roots,” he told.

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