Sexual and Gender-Based Violence: FIDH glossary available in Ukrainian


Paris, 25 November 2022. On the occasion of the International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) releases the Ukrainian edition of the Glossary on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence. The publication sheds light on essential terminology related to such violence. It is intended to inform the work of researchers, legal professionals, advocates, journalists, and all those addressing the gender dimension of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

FIDH is hosting an online event on December 14 to launch the Glossary, from 11 am to 12:30 CET. Registration in advance is mandatory for this event:

FIDH is releasing the Ukrainian version of the “Sexual and Gender-Based Violence: A Glossary from A to Z”. The text was translated thanks to the help of the FIDH member organisation in Ukraine - Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group. The Glossary sheds light on 61 essential terms related to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), the context in which such crimes are committed, and the standards that must be respected when engaging with survivors. The publication is now available in seven languages, including English, French, Russian, Spanish, Arabic and Farsi.

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A practical handbook on SGBV

With this publication, FIDH aims to reduce the persistent under-documentation, under-investigation, and under-prosecution of SGBV – a deficiency partly rooted in a widespread misunderstanding of the topic. The Glossary thus represents a practical handbook and starting point for those who document, litigate, raise awareness, or conduct advocacy on this issue.

The publication also aims to summarise the key do’s and don’ts of engaging with survivors of SGBV. It is crucial to make sure that international standards – such as "do no harm" and "confidentiality" – are well understood and respected by all actors engaging with SGBV survivors. It is equally important to avoid the re-traumatisation of victims, provide adequate health care and psychological services, and increase prevention efforts.

Sexual violence by Russian troops in Ukraine

The publication comes at a time when evidence of sexual violence by Russian troops in Ukraine is mounting. Civil society organisations and international agencies have documented patterns of SGBV affecting women, men and children of all ages. The cases documented include - but are not limited to - rape, forced nudity, threats of sexual violence and coercion to witness such violence. In several incidents documented by the United Nations Independent Inquiry Commission on Ukraine, Russian armed forces committed sexual violence against men and women in their custody, often using forced nudity in a coercive and humiliating environment. Victims, including children, have sometimes been forced to witness these crimes.

Despite the considerable media attention and civil society reports, the extent to which SGBV is a widespread pattern in Ukraine still needs to be investigated. Due to the trauma sustained by survivors and the stigma associated with SGBV, most of victims refuse to speak out about what happened. In addition, the current security situation and forced displacement contribute to the under-reporting of these violations.

Online event on December 14

FIDH is hosting an online event on December 14 to launch the Glossary, bringing together Ukrainian and international experts on SGBV to discuss the challenges they have encountered in their work and how the Glossary can contribute to addressing them. The online discussion will take place from 11 am to 12:30 CET.

Registration in advance is mandatory for this event:

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