Friday, 25 November 2016
Surviving Bashar: Syrian women tell stories of rape, torture
' “They stripped my clothes off and did their worst”, Shandana uses an alias, afraid of revealing her identity, as she tells us about her detention, torture and rape by Syrian regime forces.
Wearing large dark glasses, that cover most of her face, Shandana tells us her journey from a suburb of Damascus to Bashar al Assad’s torture chamber.
“At the beginning of the revolution, I was helping with relief work with opposition activists. The regime considered this as a terrorist activity. I now wish they had tortured me like a man, at least I could live with myself”, she said.
Mariam was a nurse in Hama when a military intelligence unit detained her. “They hung me up from my hands for three days, then pulled my teeth out using pliers and then they did things to me no human could imagine.”
As she told her story, Mariam broke down several times, crying, as she recollected that time in her life in 2013.
“These are women who have lost everything,” said Ali Zeer, a Syrian lawyer, now living in Turkey. Zeer has documented eighty-five cases of women who said they were raped and tortured by regime forces.
“They would make women watch gang-rapes of both men and women. It would have the desired effect”, said Zeer. He told us that women would readily confess to crimes they did not commit and would also implicate family members in anti-regime activities.