In June 2020, All Survivors Project and Youth Health and Development Organization in Afghanistan conducted a rapid assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on male survivors of CRSV in Afghanistan. YHDO conducted eight qualitative interviews with one YHDO outreach worker and seven male survivors of CRSV in three provinces of Afghanistan: Balkh, Kabul and Kandahar. CSRV includes bacha bazi, wherein wealthy older men buy and keep young boys for entertainment, often including sexual assault and abuse. Interviewees were asked about the impact of COVID-19 on male survivors’ access to livelihoods and health services, and on their experiences of violence.
The research found that men experienced CRSV before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the COVID-19 pandemic has brought new vulnerabilities. Survivors described the experiences of friends and other survivors in their communities. Although the results of the rapid assessment are not representative of the experiences of all male survivors in the three sampled provinces, nor in other parts of the country, they do highlight concerning findings about the increased vulnerability experienced by male survivors of sexual violence
during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The assessment highlights concerning findings about the increased vulnerability experienced by male survivors of sexual violence during the COVID-19 pandemic:
– Sexual violence against men and boys occurred prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but male survivors are now experiencing new vulnerabilities;
– Male survivors had limited access to health services before the COVID-19 pandemic – this has been exacerbated and is linked to multiple negative health outcomes;
– Reduction in risks for some male survivors of sexual violence during COVID-19 underscores the need for ongoing and targeted health and protection services which could shrink due to the pandemic.
The brief report concludes with recommendations.