How women are abused in Russian captivity

18 November 2023

Relatives and friends of over 1,000 civilians who were or are being forcibly held by Russia have reached out to the Center for Civil Liberties. Among the reported detainees, 12% are women, most of whom were abducted due to their pro-Ukrainian stance, volunteering, and public activity.

Immediately after detention, women and men are usually kept in basements that are unfit for human habitation. They are often not provided with food, water, or the opportunity to use the toilet.

Upon being transferred to the detention centres or prisons, prisoners are typically separated based on their gender. But the process of “reception” is the same for everybody and includes beatings, torture with electric shocks, information vacuum, psychological pressure, hair cutting, and sexual violence.

According to the testimonies of women who were in captivity and are now free and within Ukraine’s territory, they were subjects of physical violence, psychological pressure, sexual violence, information vacuum, no access to medical services or food.

Victoria Andrusha is a teacher of Computer Science and Mathematics. She was held in captivity for nine months.

"The conditions in the places of detention varied. Initially, everyone treated me with maximum cruelty. They openly stated that they did not consider me a human being: “Be grateful that once a week they allow you to take a three-minute shower.”

"If a person is in captivity for a long time, without any information, it’s challenging to “hang in there”. You have to work on yourself. It is very difficult when, on the one hand, you are constantly harassed, told that nobody needs you, that you have been betrayed, abandoned, that nobody is expecting you “out there”, that there is nothing and nobody “out there”. They push you to your limits by saying that something is wrong with your relatives, that you are to blame for everything. That is, they kill every person there [in captivity] as an individual”.

Watch documentary with Victoria’s story following this link.


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