After Russian troops leave the Kiev region, Ukrainian investigators search the bodies of victims from exposed mass graves. Among other things, it focuses on victims of sexual violence, which is faced mainly by women by Russian troops. However, the same form of violence did not escape several children.
According to lawyer Julie Anos from the non-profit organization La Strada, the most cases of sexual violence against women have been recorded in the Kiev region so far, she told The Kyiv Independent.
Teams of forensic doctors are looking for signs of sexual violence. They try to find out if there was a possible rape before the murder, and then gather evidence. “We already have a few cases that suggest that women were raped before they were shot,” Ukrainian forensic doctor Vladyslav Pirovsky told British The Guardian, who, with a team of official searchers, carries out dozens of autopsies of women killed from Buca, Irpin and Borodanka. .
“We can’t publish more details yet because colleagues are still collecting data and we still have hundreds of bodies to search,” he adds.
Pirovsky and his team manage to inspect up to 15 bodies a day. He claims that many of them are mutilated. “We have a lot of burnt bodies, severely disfigured bodies that simply can’t be identified… Face to pieces that can’t be reassembled, sometimes (dead bodies) don’t even have a head,” he says, adding that he also met the remains of women shot and six shots from automatic guns.
Prosecutor from the Kiev region Oleh Tkalenko is also investigating the rape. He searches, among other things, for circumstances such as the age of the victims or the place of death. “Rape cases are delicate – Forensic doctors have a special task, which is to examine the genitals of a female victim and look for a sign of rape,” he explains.
The Guardian describes the pitfalls in clarifying the rape of the killed women by a foreign medical examiner north of Kiev, who wished to remain anonymous. Some bodies “are in such poor condition that it is not easy to find signs of rape and sexual abuse. But we are gathering evidence in several cases of women who we believe were raped before they were killed, “he said. We also dealt with the stories of raped Ukrainians in the article below.
Before the death, 22-year-old Ukrainian Karina Yeršovová was also subjected to torture and rape. Her photography and tragic end have flown around social networks and the world media in recent days. “It is clear that she was most likely raped and tortured, but investigators did not tell us directly,” her father, Andrij Dereko, told The Kyiv Independent.
He added that the body of his stepdaughter, who worked as a sushi bar manager, had to be hidden from her relatives because they might be shocked to see her remains. Her family therefore buried her in a closed coffin. The only pictures the stepfather saw were only from the fuselage up. “She had cuts and lacerations, a torn piece of meat from her ribs,” he adds.
Many surviving Ukrainians are also facing the consequences of rape. But not everyone wants to talk about him. They believe that the perpetrators will not be caught anyway, explains their motive Tkalenko. He adds that traumatized Ukrainians turn to psychologists and doctors more often than to the legislature. “Psychologists work with rape victims and subsequently with investigators – women are very reticent and information about rape cases is more closed,” he added.
The testimony directly from the Ukrainian area was also described for The Guardian by an unnamed volunteer, who helped the evacuation of the locals north of Kiev from April 1. He describes, for example, how he came across three naked women who ran out of houses and cellars. According to him, one of them was badly beaten and was subsequently taken away by an ambulance. He also watched with dozens of women reporting rape at the authorities. “It usually happens that rape victims want to tell their story at first, but then they leave and it takes months for them to come back and talk,” he added.