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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. 
 

Célestin poses for an anonymous portrait at the Tongolo centre on 27th November 2020.
13/04/2021

CAR: Healing the visible and invisible wounds of sexual violence

Sexual violence has become a public health issue in Central African Republic (CAR) over the past decade, with women and minors being the most affected groups. In a country marked by years of civil war and facing a long-term crisis, assaults are perpetrated not just by members of armed groups; often the assault is committed by someone known to the victim. While access to medical and psychological care has improved over the years, the response remains insufficient compared to the scale of the needs.

05/03/2021

Tigray Crisis: “We are suffering from a lack of medical care”

 MSF is deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation of hundreds of thousands of people who have been deprived of medical care for months and have received little humanitarian assistance

20/11/2020

DRC: MSF denounces ongoing violence in Salamabila

Salamabila is affected by conflicts over access to Mount Namoya, a natural gold deposit. This recurrent violence has serious consequences on the physical and mental health of the civilian populations it affects.

Eagle Pass International Bridge, where USA border police intercept them in the middle of the channel.[Photo: Juan Carlos Tomasi]
10/02/2020

No Way Out: Doctors Without Borders Report Shows Damaging Health Impacts of US-Mexico Migration Policies

Mexico City/New York, NY, February 11, 2020—New migration policies imposed by the United States and Mexico are trapping many Central Americans in dangerous conditions, with severe consequences for their physical and mental health, said the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in a report released today.

Sex worker in the Kimbi project, South Kivu[Photo: Nathalie San Gil/MSF]
18/12/2019

Violence in the Fields

In the province of South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams treat survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. Many are survivors of rape and multiple forms of violence often perpetrated at community level. The main challenges facing the team are encouraging survivors to come forward, breaking down stigma and information around essential services and care. To help address this, MSF has put in place a community-based strategy with trusted focal points within the community.

Kidnapping of migrants has been for a while now a lucrative business for the criminal gangs operating in the Mexican northern cities bordering the US. [photo: Juan Carlos Tomasi]
30/10/2019

Increase in kidnappings and extreme violence against migrants on the southern border of Mexico

The policies of criminalisation, persecution, detention and deportation applied in Mexico in order to contain migratory flows to the northern border with the US have forced the migrant population to go underground and take increasingly dangerous routes where they are more vulnerable to criminal gangs and violence during their journey through Mexico.

Embedded thumbnail for Driving change in South Africa
26/09/2019

Driving change in South Africa

A frontline response to sexual violence in Rustenburg
[ © Mack Alix Mushitsi / Médecins Sans Frontières]
23/07/2019

Central African Republic: Silence aggravates the wounds of sexual violence

In CAR, as in many other countries, sexual violence is a taboo subject and often survivors of sexual assault are forbidden from talking about it due to the shame it will bring on their family

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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.