Throughout the world, Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is a pervasive public health and human rights issue that primarily affects women and girls. Worldwide, one in three women have been beaten, coerced into sex, or abused in some way, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The toll is enormous, costing billions of dollars in social, judicial, and health costs, in addition to lost wages and productivity, and incalculable physical and emotional hardship.
Despite the seriousness of this issue, services to prevent and appropriately respond to GBV are still inadequate. This is particularly true in emergency settings, where women and girls face increased risks of violence.
*Please note we never use images on this website of survivors of sexual or gender based violence
Since 2005, International Medical Corps has worked with communities and service providers to address GBV in diverse and challenging environments such as Afghanistan, Haiti, Syria, Central African Republic, Iraq, DRC and Russia. As risks and types of violence vary across cultures, countries and regions, International Medical Corps develops context-specific approaches to increase protection for women and girls and to respond to the needs of survivors of violence.
International Medical Corps’ core programming activities are implemented at the community level, where close collaboration with local service providers and grassroots social support networks is a highest priority. Working closely with these actors allows us to design programmes that are culturally appropriate and well-tailored to the particular needs of targeted populations.
In 2010, International Medical Corps was awarded a five-year cooperative grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as part of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s pledge to address sexual violence during her trip to DRC.
Our GBV programmes in DRC are focused in remote and war-affected communities in North and South Kivu. Through a consortium of partners, we offer comprehensive services for survivors of sexual violence and other forms of GBV, including medical, legal, livelihoods and psychosocial support. To help shape a safer future for women and girls, International Medical Corps is also engaging communities to change attitudes around gender and violence.
Read more details about our GBV work in DRC here
When drought led to a massive influx of refugees in 2011, International Medical Corps quickly expanded its GBV programming in Dollo refugee camps to respond to the needs of a large and vulnerable population. As new refugee camps were established, International Medical Corps led GBV assessments to identify potential risks for women and girls. We then worked with partners to ensure the design and location of essential services including water, food, and healthcare promoted the safety of those most vulnerable to violence.
International Medical Corps has established Women’s Centres in Dollo refugee camps, to offer safe space for women to gather, receive information and support. Throughout camps, trained refugee volunteers lead daily “tea talks” with men and women to challenge common practices contributing to large rates of domestic violence and early and forced marriage.
The workshops, held, in collaboration with local NGO ABAAD, the Lebanese Ministry of Social Affairs and Wonderbox Productions, explored challenging issues such as gender roles in Middle Eastern society and participants’ views on masculinity. They also taught tangible filmmaking skills in scriptwriting, direction, production, and the technical aspects of lighting and camera work.