Photo 15:27 19 Oct 2023

Ukraine presents UN-supported project to draw attention to war-related sexual violence

Ukrainian brands collaborated with the UNFPA to present a collection of "non-existent" goods, such as hand cream "with a supportive effect", mascara "for looking at yourself with love, and band-aids that "help heal the wounds of traumatic experiences."

The boxes have nothing inside, but the information for all those who have suffered from Russian war crimes, including conflict-related sexual violence.

Ukraine's Prosecutor General's Office has recorded 241 cases of war-related sexual violence since the beginning of the full-scale war. However, according to the UN, there are 10 to 20 times more unreported cases.

The "Goods That Don't Exist" project is part of the UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund in Ukraine) information campaign aimed at raising awareness of sexual violence and helping those traumatized seek professional help.

Unfortunately, many victims decide not to seek help, and some do not know where to find it. "Goods that don't exist" is one of the projects of our information campaign, created to attract people's attention in a creative way and emphasize the importance of professional support, says Massimo Diana, representative of the UN Population Fund.

Over 260 of our stores are located in cities where the UN-backed Rescue Centers operate. We joined the "Goods That Don't Exist" project because we understand the importance of the topic and want to help people who need support to learn about the possibility of getting it, says Roman Sivkovsky, Marketing Director of Ukraine's network of shops.

Each box has information from psychologists, contacts of the centers, and the story of Tetiana, who was sexually abused during the occupation of her city.

My husband left to defend our homeland. I was left alone… I was only 25… And one day they did it! Home became the most dangerous place in the world for me, so I left. I wanted to be anywhere, just as far away from there as possible. I had no memory of the past and no vision of the future.

All I wanted was to stop being afraid, so I went to see a psychologist, who helped me to cope with the anxiety that was constantly haunting me. After many sessions, I regained a sense of control over my own life and realized that I was in no way responsible for the violence. Ask for help, it is really important, says Tetiana.

The centers were created at the initiative of the Office of the Vice Prime Minister for EU integration, with the assistance of the UNFPA), Belgium, France, and Sweden.

Previously, the liberated Kherson region has recorded the highest number of sexual crimes committed by Russian servicemen against Ukrainians, with 66 of the 235 cases in Ukraine already solved.

During the full-scale war, 75 Ukrainian children were tortured by the Russian invaders, most of them in the village of Yahidne, Ukraine's northern Chernihiv region.

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