A thin-framed Kamla* looked around, unsure whether she was at the right place, and hesitating whether to share her experience or not. This was the first time she was visiting MSF’s Umeed ki Kiran (Ray of Hope) clinic on the recommendation of an MSF health educator. Reassured by the friendliness of the counsellor, who promised her complete privacy, Kamla felt able to share her story of abuse with the staff there.
Sexual and Gender based violence
Kinshasa – Between May 2017 and September 2018, the international medical humanitarian organisation Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) treated 2,600 victims of sexual violence in the town of Kananga in Kasai Central province, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Eighty per cent reported having been raped by armed men.
Shailja was three months pregnant when she first came to Umeed Ki Kiran, a community-based clinic run by Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in North West Delhi’s densely populated Jahangirpuri area. She looked anxious and confused. Like a lot of women from this area, she had suffered domestic violence, but unlike many others, she decided to seek help.
“Before, I had no courage to help other women because I was afraid of my husband,” says Saliha, speaking rapidly in the afternoon heat. “But now, I have overcome all of my fears and anxieties.”
Saliha is a patient at MSF’s women’s health clinic in Kamrangirchar, a densely populated slum in the south of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.
Incidents of sexual and gender-based violence are unfortunately not uncommon in Delhi. An average of six cases of sexual assault are reported every day. Newspapers give frequent accounts of women who have been assaulted or abused — a grim indicator considering that most incidents go unreported. Survivors of sexual and gender-based violence are often reluctant to come forward due to stigma and a lack of confidentiality. Some victims have even been shamed in news headlines.
Port Moresby, 25 November 2013 – Family and sexual violence (FSV) is a medical-humanitarian emergency with serious consequences for survivors, at individual and also family level. Its effects go far beyond domestic borders and affect public health at national level.