Hundreds of Rapes by Pro-Qaddafi Forces Reported

Some 259 women reported being raped by forces fighting on behalf of dictator Moammar Qaddafi during the ongoing civil war in Libya, according to a questionnaire distributed to refugees by child psychologist Seham Sergewa. The question was added to the survey after Sergewa was contacted by three separate victims — mothers of children she was treating — who told similar stories of assault by militia fighting to keep Qaddafi in power:

Reading from the scribbled Arabic on the back of one survey, Dr. Sergewa described one woman's attack in Misrata in March, while it was still occupied by Qaddafi's forces.

"First they tied my husband up," the woman wrote. "Then they raped me in front of my husband and my husband's brother. Then they killed my husband."

Another woman in Misrata said she was raped in front of her four children after Qaddafi fighters burned down her home.

Sergewa believes the number is likely higher due to underreporting. NATO strikes against Qaddafi continue, though an end may be in sight; two days ago Russian President Dmitri Medvedev agreed to reach out to Qaddafi in an effort to convinced the longtime leader to step down.

[AP]