Gender-based Violence (GBV), a generic term for “violence against women”, “sexual violence” or “intimate partner violence”, is a worldwide public health concern. GBV is monstrous, completely unacceptable, and must be stopped. Intimate partner violence - particularly sexual violence - is an underreported and hidden problem in many areas in Africa, South America and Asia, as well as in Europe.
Photo: Südafrica, © Terre des hommes schweiz
A broken healthcare system means that rape survivors may continue to carry the burden of rape both physically and psychologically. Fear of not being believed, or being told that what they survived does not actually amount to rape, means many survivors do not know they are entitled to access both justice and medical care to prevent unwanted pregnancies, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Many international and national NGOs are addressing the high burden of GBV. But they are struggling to meet the high demand for access to appropriate healthcare and to the legal/justice sector.
And – as the recent big scandal over sexual misconduct by aid workers at Oxfam has shown, NGOs are not only trying to solve the problem but are actually part of it!
A public health approach is needed to tackle gender violence in both industrialised and low-income countries. So the question is not about whether to engage but how to do so in ways that do not cause harm and do not come at unacceptable costs.
At the upcoming MMS/aidsfocus.ch conference we will discuss how best to address GBV at the individual as well as community level and how to address misconduct in international health cooperation.
The MMS/aidsfocus.ch conference will explore the following questions:
Venue: Hotel Kreuz, Zeughausgasse 41, Bern, www.kreuzbern.ch
Conference fee: MMS Members: 70CHF; Students: 45CHF; Others: 150CHF