By Oman Mbiko
Bangui — REBEL groups have raped and cut off genitals of scores of boys and men in the Central African Republic (CAR).
According to findings, most cases have gone unreported because of stigma, societal attitudes and shortcomings by state and international bodies.
Documented cases indicate sexual violence against men and boys has been most common during armed attacks or when victims were held captive by armed groups during the civil war that started in 2013.
The All Survivors Project (ASP) said it had compiled information involving cases of forced nudity, forced masturbation and of incidents in which men had their genitals beaten, mutilated and cut off.
"Sexual violence against men and boys is a serious blindspot in CAR," lamented Charu Lata Hogg, ASP Director.
He appointed out there was a misconception that only girls and women were victims of rape and sexual violence in the troubled Central African country.
The organisation bemoaned that agencies and government bodies failed to factor in violations against males in their strategies for conflict-related sexual violence.
Yet, some of the most vulnerable children included boys associated with armed groups but are not screened for sexual violence upon release.
"To comprehensively address sexual violence in conflict, we must continue to fight for women and girls but take seriously the urgent needs of men and boys who are brutalized in conflict zones around the world," said Lara Stemple, Director of the Health and Human Rights Law Project at University of Carolina School of Law.
Rebel groups control an estimated 80 percent of CAR.