Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War

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.

MSF and the care for victims of sexual violence

In 2014, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) medical teams treated over 11,000 victims of sexual violence across 91 projects in 29 countries. Over 90 percent of them were women and girls; less than ten percent were men and boys. More than two-thirds of our sexual violence patients come from three countries: Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Zimbabwe. The majority of victims are under 18 years of age. Our assistance to victims of sexual violence starts with free and confidential medical and psychological care.

In many of the settings where we work, there is limited similar assistance. Our purpose is to alleviate victims’ suffering and support their recovery and resumption of daily life. We are committed to incorporating sexual violence services in all our women’s health projects, and to increasing provision of sexual violence care in emergency response.