The War in Bosnia was one of the real crises of the 1990s. Between the prison camps, deaths in the tens of thousands, and war crimes still being prosecuted, those countries are to this day still putting the pieces back together.
One of the most taboo crimes that occurred that’s only recently been discovered was the large incidence of male rape in the prison camps.
Around 20,000 female rapes have been documented, and while the number of male rapes are lower, the crime is equally horrifying:
According to these testimonies, victims were sexually assaulted with glass bottles, guns and truncheons. Also, castrations were allegedly performed by crude means – such as forcing other detainees to bite off a prisoner’s testicles.
The witnesses also said that prisoners had been forced to commit other types of abuse on each other, and several men made statements that fathers and sons had been coerced into performing sexual acts upon each other.
This abuse was less sexual in nature and more to psychologically break down the victims. To think that this could have happened so recently is truly appalling. And of course, the victims are ashamed to come forward:
Senadin Ljubovic, a Sarajevo-based psychiatrist who has treated 37 men who said they were sexually abused during the war, concludes all of them suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, which is reflected in permanent changes of personality and mental health problems.
In many wartime scenarios, male rape often goes overlooked. But in order for these societies to be put back together, it needs to be investigated and treated with the utmost care. If a society loses its men, it loses its strength.