Russian Federation ― Committee Against Torture ― Violence Against Women ― Oct. 2012
Women in the town of Kushchyovskaya have endured mass rapes for over two decades. Reports indicate that over 200 women have been raped in recent years, and from 2008 to 2010 the 47 reported cases led to criminal charges only twice. A criminal gang called the “Tsapki” carries out rapes in an organized fashion: gang members systematically stalk potential victims in schools and on city streets; police, school officials, and other townspeople turn a blind eye; and women live in a constant state of fear. Additionally, people attempting to speak out against the crimes have been aggressively silenced – the dean of a local school spent a year in solitary confinement on fabricated charges after speaking out against the Tsapki.
In response to allegations of mass rape, police conducted a perfunctory investigation in the form of a public hearing. They deemed the case closed after women refused to say in this public forum that they had been raped. The Advocates recommends a full-scale investigation including confidential interviews, guarantees for the safety for individuals reporting crimes, and accountability for the perpetrators and their collaborators. Furthermore, Russia should improve training for officers and judges, increase the number of crisis centers for women, and intensify the investigations and subsequent punishments for crimes of sexual violence against women.
The Advocates recommends several measures to protect women from gender-based violence, to punish assailants, and to develop policies and procedures by which Russia can comply with its obligations under the Convention.