South Sudan: Gender-Based Violence Persists in Post-Conflict Society
Friday, August 10, 2012 10:25 AM

Violence against women continues in South Sudan even after the official end to the war for independence. Women in South Sudan experience disproportionate rates of sexual and physical violence, abduction, and forced marriage. According to experts in the country, current and former members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army are common perpetrators, especially following the forced disarmament campaign in 2012. 

Root causes of violence against women in South Sudan include years of violent conflict and well-established patriarchal practices. Most of the violence occurs within a woman’s household, and harmful dowry practices often prevent women from leaving abusive partners. 

Rape is criminalized in South Sudan, but police lack the resources and awareness to enforce the law. In rural areas women often must turn to traditional courts and village chiefs rather than the police when they experience physical or sexual violence.

UN agencies, international NGOs, and national groups are working to address violence against women in South Sudan, but resources are extremely limited. For example, collecting evidence for sexual assault trials is nearly impossible because hospitals lack both the rape kits and trained doctors necessary for medical examinations.

Compiled from: Marcy Hersh, For South Sudan’s Women, The War Hasn’t Ended, Global Post (5 August 2012).