Added: August 9, 2014 – Last updated: July 2, 2016


Authors: Pauline Oosterhoff, Prisca Zwanikken, and Evert Ketting

Title: Sexual Torture of Men in Croatia and Other Conflict Situations

Subtitle: An Open Secret

Journal: Reproductive Health Matters

Volume: 12

Issue: 23

Year: May 2004

Pages: 68-77

ISSN: 0968-8080 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century | European History: Croatian History | Types: Wartime Rape / Croatian War of Independence; Victims: Men



JSTOR (Restricted Access)

ResearchGate (Free Access)

ScienceDirect (Restricted Access)



Evert Ketting, Guttmacher InstituteResearchGate

Pauline Oosterhoff, Institute of Development Studies

Prisca Zwanikken, Department Health, Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen (Royal Tropical Institute) – ResearchGate

Abstract: »Sexual torture constitutes any act of sexual violence which qualifies as torture. Public awareness of the widespread use of sexual torture as a weapon of war greatly increased after the war in the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. Sexual torture has serious mental, physical and sexual health consequences. Attention to date has focused more on the sexual torture of women than of men, partly due to gender stereotypes. This paper describes the circumstances in which sexual torture occurs, its causes and consequences, and the development of international law addressing it. It presents data from a study in 2000 in Croatia, where the number of men who were sexually tortured appears to have been substantial. Based on in-depth interviews with 16 health professionals and data from the medical records of three centres providing care to refugees and victims of torture, the study found evidence of rape and other forced sexual acts, full or partial castration, genital beatings and electroshock. Few men admit being sexually tortured or seek help, and professionals may fail to recognise cases. Few perpetrators have been prosecuted, mainly due to lack of political will. The silence that envelopes sexual torture of men in the aftermath of the war in Croatia stands in strange contrast to the public nature of the crimes themselves.« (Source: Reproductive Health Matters)


  Abstract (p. 68)
  What is sexual torture? (p. 69)
  Circumstances of sexual torture (p. 69)
  Causes of sexual torture (p. 70)
  Health consequences of sexual torture (p. 70)
  National and international law on sexual torture (p. 71)
  Dealing with the perpetrators (p. 72)
  Sexual torture of men in Croatia (p. 72)
    Methodology (p. 72)
    Incidence of sexual torture (p. 73)
    Factors affecting reported rates (p. 73)
  Psychosexual and psychosocial effects of sexual torture (p. 74)
  An open secret (p. 74)
  Discussion (p. 75)
  Acknowledgements (p. 75)
  References (p. 75)

Wikipedia: History of Europe: History of Croatia | Types of rape: Wartime sexual violence | War: Croatian War of Independence