Current Medical Shortcomings

Current Medical Shortcomings

 

 
“There are not enough services currently in place specifically designed to meet the needs of survivors of sexual violence in the Syrian refugee camps”.
 
International Rescue Committee 
 
The most urgent needs of rape victims are adequate physical care such as medical examination, treatment of injuries, infections, post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV infections. Injuries caused by rape of adolescent- or child aged girls often necessitate extensive reconstructing surgery as well as fistula reconstructions. Very often the lack of adequate facilities challenges the quality of medical care provided to survivors and causes the administered care to be severely substandard. Even when facilities are in place they might be underutilized due to inconvenience of hours and locations, the latter reinforced by the inability for women to travel long distances due the harassment[1]. Lacking privacy within facilities, absence of female personnel, hindrance by families and fear of honour killings as reprisal of family’s’ shattered honour are other reoccurring causes for women to withhold themselves from adequate care[2]. Another concern is the lack of specifically targeted services. For example, the current health services offered to Syrian refugees are designated to be too general and not sufficiently targeted towards the specific health problems of sexual violence survivors and their reproductive needs. 
Besides the physical needs of rape victims prosecution is a secondary concern which nevertheless might highly contribute to the psychological recovery of the trauma. Health works and facilities should therefore provide tools to collect evidence necessary for corroborating the circumstances of the assault and for identifying the perpetrator[3].
 

[1] UNWOMEN. (2013). Gender-Based Violence and Child Protection among Syrian Refugees in Jordan, with a Focus on Early Marriage. Retrieved on August 22, 2013 from: http://www.unwomen.org/~/media/Headquarters/Attachments/Sections/Library/Publications/2013/7/Report-web%20pdf.pdf.


[2] UNFPA. (2006). Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls in War and Its Aftermath: Realities, Responses, and Required Resources. Retrieved on August 1, 2013 from: http://www.unfpa.org/emergencies/symposium06/docs/finalbrusselsbriefingpaper.pdf.


[3] WHO. (2003). Guidelines for medico-legal care for victims of sexual violence. Retrieved on August 2, 2013, from: http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2004/924154628X.pdf. 

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