Worldwide, at least one in three women has experienced some form of sexual violence.
It is a traumatic experience for the individual, and some victims are subjected to both sexual and physical violence. The result is short and long-term consequences for a woman's physical, mental, and sexual and reproductive health, affecting her capacity to be an active member in society.
Francoise Duroch of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) describes how conflict and violence disrupt health care and how medical workers find themselves the direct targets of violence. She talks about how the stigma attached to sexual violence prevents victims seeking support. Finally, she explains how MSF is sometimes forced to suspend its activities and the conditions under which the organization will go public about a situation. Originally posted on CICR.org.
The report "Trapped at the Gates of Europe" raises the alarm about the situation of Sub-Saharan migrants in Morocco. Sub-Saharan migrants making their way to Europe often find themselves trapped in this country, and as EU border nations step up their combat against illegal immigration, the migrants' living conditions worsen. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) staff observed an escalation in intentional violence, and increased numbers of patients abused by Moroccan security forces and sometimes by Spanish security forces. The report also looks at sexual violence endured by female migrants. In the past two years, MSF has treated 700 victims who receive no assistance or protection from the authorities. In spite of the violence, migrants' access to healthcare has somewhat improved, notes the report. With human rights now the number one priority among advocates, MSF has handed over its activities to specialist organizations.
This short film gives an overview of MSF programs and the situation in North Kivu, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Continued fighting and violence has lead to repeated population displacement. MSF carries out vaccination campaigns, works in the referral hospital in the ER, surgery and pediatric wards, and offers medical care for rape victims.
Usually the result of complications during delivery, a fistula is an opening between the bladder and the vagina, or between the rectum and the vagina. Women become incontinent, and are often shunned from their societies and families as a result. They can also suffer additional medical consequences. Access to pre-natal care and interventions to assist with complicated labor, including C-sections are essential to preventing fistulas.