Russia’s Latest Victims: Ukrainian Women


Courtesy Al Jazeera News

By Emily Kozak, Staff Writer

The Russian Army is abusing women again: this time, Ukrainian women.  Women are being used as war pawns; in recent reports, Ukrainian women are now being sexually abused by the Russian Army. Women’s bodies have always beared the brutal consequences of war. Now, Ukrainian women not only have to face the horrific destruction of their country, but they also have to protect themselves from sexual abuse.

As of now the United Nations (UN), has reported an increasing amount of rape and sexual violence cases against Ukrainian women. Most of these reports of war crimes have come from Bucha and suburbs under Kyiv. However these are regions that have recently been retaken by Ukrainian forces, and there are many more unreported cases of sexual violence.

On March 7, a woman named Anne, who lives in the suburbs of Kyiv, told BBC News that she was raped by a Russian soldier who entered her home. Her husband tried to run after her but was shot by the Russian soldiers. In another village in Kyiv, Russian soldiers broke into a family’s house, murdered the husband, and repeatedly raped his wife. They threatened that if she resisted, they would murder her young son. These are only two stories among many.

Russian men have entered Ukraine ready to commit these barbaric crimes because they think they won’t be held accountable, but they are wrong. One of the most disgusting phone calls that was intercepted by Ukrainian forces was that of a Russian woman, now identified as Olga Bykowska, giving her husband, now identified as Roman Bykowskij, permission to rape Ukrainian women.

In the phone call, the wife can be heard saying, “You go there, rape Ukrainian women, and don’t tell me anything. Understood?” Later on, she laughs at her husband and says, “Just use contraception!” This conversation was leaked after news spread about how 25 women, ages 14 to 24, were systematically raped in Bucha. This is only one phone call, only one conversation in the midst of many.

History is repeating itself. You can clearly see this with the current abuse of Ukraine’s women. Across Eastern Europe, and even beyond, the Russian Army has been historically known to sexually abuse women and commit remorseless war crimes. Over the past century, Georgian, Polish, Latvian, German, Estonian, Lithuanian, Hungarian, Romanian, Czech, and Slovakian women have been victims of Russia’s army.

These crimes were so prevalent amongst the Russian Army  that they were and are still called an “Armia gwałcicieli” or “Army of Rapists.” The same army that said they “liberated” Eastern European countries from Nazi Germany was also terrorizing the innocent women of these countries and murdering their men. Now the Russian Army which says it’s liberating Ukraine from Nazis (even though Russia shows tremendous similarities with the Nazi regime itself) has found more helpless victims.

Ukrainian girls are now cutting their hair to be less attractive the same way Polish women would smear dirt on their faces and wear rags, just in the hopes of not getting raped by Russian soldiers. Ukrainian women have to worry if leaving their homes will result in rape, the same way German women had to. Rape was used as a tool of revenge by Russian soldiers against German women during World War II, the same way it’s being used against Ukrainian women now. History is repeating itself before our eyes and those who fail to see it are blind.

The Russian Army clearly has a pattern of abuse against women. It might seem hard for us to do anything since we’re not in government, but we still have a major influence.

“As adolescents, we feel as if we can’t really do anything, but we have more influence than we think,” says Sophmore Janae Murray.

Writing about these atrocities, pointing out when history is repeating itself, talking about these horrific acts, donating, spreading information, posting on social media (we all have phones), and showing that we genuinely care about the women of Ukraine are good steps in trying to stop these act of brutality.

Trusted organizations that help Ukraine:

A bakery in Kyiv that is baking and distributing bread to soldiers, police officers, hospital workers, elderly, etc. –