Skip to main content

Newsletter block in header

prev
next

Languages

You are here

Sexual and gender based violence 

Sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) is a medical emergency. 
 
We strive to make comprehensive health care available for survivors of sexual violence, whether they be women, children or men in all of our projects. 
 
Sexual violence can occur in any society at any time, but is exacerbated in unstable situations such as conflicts.    
 
As a medical emergency, SGBV requires direct access and referral to quality health services.  


 
What is Sexual Violence? 

 
SGBV encompasses many different acts of violence against women, children and men, ranging from rape to genital mutilation.  
 
In conflict, rape is often used as a weapon or as a reward for soldiers. Rape and other forms of sexual abuse are also used as a means of torture or, in some cases, as a strategy to spread HIV/AIDS within a community. 


 
Medical Consequences 

Sexual violence can cause a wide variety of medical consequences affecting physical and reproductive health.   
 
Physical injuries can range from stab wounds, fractures, and bleeding to vaginal fistuals.   
 
People who are sexually abused are also more susceptible to developing a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as HIV. STIs are more likely to be transmitted by forced sex, as vaginal or anal tears provide an entry for the virus.  
 
Another medical consequence can be unintended pregnancies. According to the World Health Organisation, women who have suffered sexual violence are twice as likely to have an abortion. Unsafe abortions performed in resource poor settings often cause further consequences for reproductive health. 
 

19/08/2021

Central African Republic: As conflict hits the countryside, people suffer from displacement and lack of access to healthcare

Since December 2020, there has been a resurgence in the conflict between government forces and armed groups in the Central African Republic (CAR). In recent months the situation has become extremely volatile in many rural areas across the country. Insecurity caused by the fighting and fear of attacks have forced many to flee towards larger towns. The violence has also severely impacted the ability of organisations to provide healthcare.

15/07/2021

DRC: Voices of Survivors

In 2020, MSF medical and mental health staff assisted 10,810  survivors of sexual violence  in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which means nearly 30 each day. It's an enormous figure which is unfortunately only the tip of the iceberg.

15/07/2021

DRC: Doctors Without Borders calls for urgent boost to support survivors of sexual violence

MSF warns of the lack of support available for survivors of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

15/07/2021

It takes a whole village: the need of a multiple approach to assist survivors of sexual violence

In light of the magnitude and the impact of the sexual violence in the country, MSF calls on the Congolese authorities and their partners to act now, in line with the medical, legal and socioeconomic needs that we observe.

22/06/2021

Testimonies of people who lost safety in Zamfara

Rising violence in northwest Nigeria’s Zamfara state is causing a humanitarian crisis. MSF teams in Zamfara state have witnessed an alarming rise in preventable illnesses associated with a lack of food, drinking water, shelter and vaccinations.

16/06/2021

Renewed hope: Caring for deported migrants in Ethiopia

Each year, thousands of Ethiopians make the perilous journey to Saudi Arabia or other Gulf countries, with the false hope of finding work for fair pay. Those who make it to Saudia Arabia often face violence and mistreatment. Since 2017, Saudia Arabia has been detaining the undocumented  migrants and deporting them back to their countries of origin. For those returned to Ethiopia, MSF provides emergency care and mental health assistance in Addis Ababa. 

14/06/2021

Conflict in Burkina Faso: “Many people are afraid to sleep at night”

Following the attack on Solhan village in early June – the deadliest in the country’s recent history – MSF head of mission Dr Youssouf Dembélé describes the impact of the continuous violence on people caught up in one of the world’s fastest growing humanitarian crises in recent years.

12/05/2021

Responding to emergencies amid the conflict in CAR

Since late December, the situation in Central African Republic (CAR) has quickly worsened, as clashes between a coalition of non-state armed groups and government forces supported by foreign troops, which began amid contested elections, have escalated. In response, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) have deployed emergency teams across the country to assist people affected by the violence who live in constant fear of attack by all sides. This is what our teams found in Bossembélé, Grimari and Ippy, three areas hit by the conflict

Pages

Sexual and gender based violence 

Sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) is a medical emergency. 
 
We strive to make comprehensive health care available for survivors of sexual violence, whether they be women, children or men in all of our projects. 
 
Sexual violence can occur in any society at any time, but is exacerbated in unstable situations such as conflicts.    
 
As a medical emergency, SGBV requires direct access and referral to quality health services.  


 
What is Sexual Violence? 

 
SGBV encompasses many different acts of violence against women, children and men, ranging from rape to genital mutilation.  
 
In conflict, rape is often used as a weapon or as a reward for soldiers. Rape and other forms of sexual abuse are also used as a means of torture or, in some cases, as a strategy to spread HIV/AIDS within a community. 


 
Medical Consequences 

Sexual violence can cause a wide variety of medical consequences affecting physical and reproductive health.   
 
Physical injuries can range from stab wounds, fractures, and bleeding to vaginal fistuals.   
 
People who are sexually abused are also more susceptible to developing a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as HIV. STIs are more likely to be transmitted by forced sex, as vaginal or anal tears provide an entry for the virus.  
 
Another medical consequence can be unintended pregnancies. According to the World Health Organisation, women who have suffered sexual violence are twice as likely to have an abortion. Unsafe abortions performed in resource poor settings often cause further consequences for reproductive health.