14 Dec 2018
New issue of Torture Journal examines the impact of sexual torture

The latest issue of the Torture Journal examines the impact of sexual torture in diverse settings around the world and identifies innovative and culturally appropriate rehabilitation approaches.

  New issue of Torture Journal examines the impact of sexual torture

Sexual and gender-based violence is underreported and gathering reliable data on sexual torture is challenging because of factors such as stigma and fear of retaliation from the perpetrators. The new issue of the Journal exposes the conditions that precipitate sexual and gender-based torture, the impact of torture, and details innovative rehabilitation approaches. The issue covers the following themes:

  • Impacts of sexual torture: Children conceived as a result of genocide-rape in Rwanda display similar psychological, emotional and social issues as their mothers. The health impact of sexual torture on Afghan, Iranian and Kurdish refugees are analysed in a systematic review and another article uncovers the horrific acts of sexual torture under Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq, and the devastating psychological and social consequences. Finally, the spotlight is put on the social, psychological and physical consequences of recent torture events in Tanzania.
  • Culturally-sensitive rehabilitation: Male Tamil asylum seekers in Australia, who have suffered sexual torture, challenge gender norms during psychotherapeutic sessions. The difficulty of providing rehabilitation services in culturally diverse settings and during war are also investigated in two other articles. In addition, traditional cultural practices are shown to be an important part of rehabilitation and reparation processes in the Niger Delta.
  • Conceptual advances: The Editorial contextualises current research on sexual and gender-based torture and puts forward fresh analytical concepts, such as ‘genderdized torture’. These are complemented by a review of the latest report by the United Nations Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity. The report investigates the root causes of discrimination on the grounds of gender.

The #MeToo movement has propelled gender-related issues to the fore and highlighted how different characteristics (e.g. ethnicity, gender, income and national origin) can amplify the risk of discrimination and violence. The torture victims that inspired the articles in this issue are among the most marginalised in the world and have suffered unimaginable violence and attacks on their agency at the hands of the State. It is hoped that this issue raises awareness, promotes discussion and inspires further research - for there is much work to be done.


For more information

Launched in 1991, the Torture Journal is an interdisciplinary scientific journal on rehabilitation of torture victims and prevention of torture. The full contents of the latest issue is available free-of-charge  here and you can subscribe to the Journal here. Please contact Harry Shepherd at hsh@irct.org for any questions related to the Torture Journal.

 “Objects such as plastic pipes were shoved into their anus and a barbed wire inserted through the pipe with the intent of causing internal damage”

Fernandes & Aiello (2018) report on Tamil men being sexually tortured


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