Many Ukrainian Prisoners of War Show Signs of Trauma and Sexual Violence – Generic English

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Interrogators put him through a mock execution, firing a volley of gunfire beside him while he was blindfolded. They threatened him with rape, the serviceman said, making him choose what they should use — a mop handle or the leg of a chair. “Do you want to do it yourself or do you want us to help you?” they taunted him.

He said that he was never actually penetrated, but that others were raped. “After that you cannot walk normally,” he said. “You suffer for weeks. Other guys had the same treatment.”

“I think they had such an order to break us psychologically and physically so that we would not want anything else in life,” he said, adding that there were suicides in the Taganrog jail.

“You could hear the screams all day,” the serviceman said. “Impossible screams.” Sometimes during a lull, the prisoners could hear the voices of children playing outside, he said.

The ordeal for the former prisoners is by no means over once back home.

“The most difficult thing is having too many people around,” the serviceman said. “Everyone is peacefully walking in the park and you are still afraid that someone is listening, or that you might get shoved or say the wrong thing.”

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