The rape of Rohingya women by Myanmar's security forces has been sweeping and methodical, the AP found in interviews with 29 women and girls now in Bangladesh. These assault survivors from several refugee camps range in age from 13 to 35, come from villages in Myanmar's Rakhine state, and describe assaults between October 2016 and mid-September. The testimonies bolster the UN's contention that Myanmar's armed forces are systematically employing rape as a "calculated tool of terror" aimed at killing off the Rohingya. The Myanmar armed forces didn't respond to AP requests for comment, but an internal military probe last month concluded the assaults didn't happen. When journos asked about rape allegations in September, Rakhine's minister for border affairs replied: "Look at [the accusers'] appearances—do you think they are that attractive to be raped?"
Doctors and aid workers, however, say they're stunned at the sheer volume of rapes and suspect only a fraction of women have come forward. Medecins Sans Frontieres doctors have treated 113 sexual violence survivors since August; the youngest was 9. Every woman the AP spoke with except one said the assailants wore military-style uniforms. The most commonly described attack involved soldiers bursting into private homes to carry out the rapes. In other cases, women said, security forces surrounded a village, separated men from women, then took the women to another location to gang-rape them. The women also spoke of seeing their children slaughtered in front of them and their husbands beaten and shot. More on the women's horrific stories, including the injuries and pregnancies that resulted, here.
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