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The rape of Rohingya women by Myanmar's security forces is 'sweeping' and 'methodical'

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The rape of Rohingya women by Myanmar's security forces has been "sweeping" and "methodical," according to a report by the Associated Press.

Twenty-nine women and girls, ranging from 13 to 35 years old, told the Associated Press eerily similar stories of attacks by groups of men in military garb, occurring between October 2016 and September 2017. The attacks were swift and systematic.

"Fifty people from the military. Fifty men came into the village, surrounded it, and stood in front of people's doors in groups of threes," said one anonymous survivor, identified only as A. "Then they entered into the homes and started pulling out young girls from their homes. They began raping them and some came towards me and started beating me up. They attacked me with knives, covered my mouth and eyes, then pinned me down and raped me. I thought I had died."

Rohingya Fleeing Rape Vignettes
In this Monday, Nov. 20, 2017, photo, A, 20, mother of one, who says she was raped by members of Myanmar's armed forces in late August, covers her face while being photographed in her tent in Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh. The use of rape by Myanmar's armed forces has been sweeping and methodical, the AP found in interviews with 29 Rohingya Muslim women and girls now in Bangladesh. They were interviewed separately, come from a variety of villages in Myanmar and now live spread across several refugee camps in Bangladesh. The military has denied its soldiers raped any Rohingya women. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

Medecins Sans Frontieres reported treating 113 survivors of sexual violence since August. A third of them were between nine and 18 years old.

Aid workers say it's only a hint of the full scope of the crimes.

"The stories that they are telling us, and not only the victims themselves, but that other people are telling us about witnessing acts of sexual violence in Myanmar, make us feel that we're only capturing a very small portion of the victims," said Crystal van Leeuwen, an Emergency Medical Coordinator for Medecins Sans Frontieres.

Another survivor interviewed by the Associated Press described the methodical assault. "Because I couldn't leave four or five of them grabbed me and then raped me. Some of them were waiting outside. After guarding outside, three of them tied me up and raped me very brutally."

Rohingya Fleeing Rape Vignettes
In this Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017, photo, K, 25, mother of six, who says she was raped by members of Myanmar's armed forces in late August, is photographed in her tent in Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

Only one of the 29 women interviewed described her assailants as wearing plain clothes, and not military uniforms. But even in that account, the woman said her neighbors recognized the men from the local military outpost.

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Although rape as a weapon is not a new tool employed by Myanmar's security forces, aid workers say the volume of attacks has become staggering.

"I am disturbed in my mind," said one anonymous survivor, identified only as F. "I cried all night last night. No one knows that except for Allah. I can't even bend to pray. That is what is troubling me."

Rohingya Fleeing Rape Vignettes
In this Monday, Nov. 20, 2017, photo, F, 22, who says she was raped by members of Myanmar's armed forces in June and again in September, clutches her hands around her pregnant belly as she is photographed in her tent in Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh. The use of rape by Myanmar's armed forces has been sweeping and methodical, the AP found in interviews with 29 Rohingya Muslim women and girls now in Bangladesh. They were interviewed separately, come from a variety of villages in Myanmar and now live spread across several refugee camps in Bangladesh. The military has denied its soldiers raped any Rohingya women. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

She told the Associated Press that over three months after the first assault, while pregnant with a child almost certainly conceived in the rape, she was attacked again.

Men burst into her neighbor's home, where F was living. They killed her neighbor's husband and 5-year-old son, slashing the young boy's throat. The two women were stripped, beaten and brutally raped.

When the attack was finally over, the two women lay on the floor for days, unmoving.

Then, together, they got up and began the painful, 10-day journey to Bangladesh.

F now lives in a small shelter, with no family left except for the baby inside her, conceived through violence.

She prays her child will be a boy. This world, she says, is no place for a girl.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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