"I didn't know what was happening to me except that I was screaming and I was in pain. I felt like my thoughts no longer belonged to my body and my body no longer to my soul. My soul was elsewhere and my body was in the hands of the monsters."
In Silent War, Syrian women break the taboo surrounding rape to speak openly about the abuse they endured at the hands of government soldiers.In basements, prisons and their own homes, they were repeatedly raped for "crimes" such as participating in peaceful demonstrations or to send a message to their husbands, fathers and brothers.
"Every free citizen or any citizen engaged in the revolution has had one of the women of his family sent to detention ... His sister, his daughter, his wife. The message is, 'Either you surrender or we keep your wife or your daughter'. The regime used rape to humiliate the Syrian men," explains one woman who served in the army of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for eight years before defecting.
She describes the evolution of the use of rape as a weapon of war during the Syrian conflict, explaining how something that initially took place only inside prisons became more widespread and systematic.
"They started to rape women at roadblocks, at home in front of their husbands, their children...At some point, the regime took a new approach. It recorded videos of the rapes of women in detention and sent them to the fighters."
Soldiers were, in turn, encouraged to film themselves raping women so that the videos could be sent to the women's families.
Watch the film SILENT WAR: HOW RAPE BECAME A WEAPON IN SYRIA by Manon Loizeau!