Immediate medical care vital for sexual violence victims
MÃ©decins Sans FrontiÃ¨res is an international humanitarian organisation that brings emergency medical care to populations in over 60 countries. Through this report, MÃ©decins Sans FrontiÃ¨res (MSF) shares its experience in providing medical care, counselling and other forms of support to thousands of victims of sexual violence in many countries around the world. The report is partly born out of outrage about the inexcusable acts that these people have been subjected to and the damage inflicted upon their lives. It demonstrates why it is imperative to make immediate care available, and truly accessible, for those who have been sexually assaulted. MSF hopes that this report will inform and inspire health officials, aid workers and others who should be involved in providing such support.
In 2007, MSF provided health care to 12,791 victims of sexual violence in 127 projects worldwide: women, men and children who sought help against all odds, overcoming obstacles such as fear, shame and stigmatisation.
Sexual violence affects millions across the globe. It is a medical emergency, brutally shattering the lives of women, men and children. It destroys families, damages communities. In many countries, the impact of sexual violence is further compounded by a dire absence of health care services for the victims. In conflicts, rape and other forms of sexual violence are often widespread. This violence can be used to humiliate, punish, control, injure, inflict fear and destroy communities. In times of stability, sexual violence is also a grave problem, devastating health and lives. In both settings, perpetrators are frequently those who are supposed to provide security, in their homes and in their societies at large.