• Attacks on medical missions: overview of a polymorphous reality: the case of Médecins Sans Frontières

      Sa‘Da, C A; Duroch, F; Taithe, B (Cambridge University Press - awaiting permission, 2014-06-11)
      The aim of this article is to carry out a preliminary analysis of issues relating to the types of violence that are directed against humanitarian medical missions. Starting from the observation that violence can cause some degree of disruption for a medical organisation such as Médecins Sans Frontières, despite its wide experience which has brought it much wisdom and generated numerous and sporadic responses to such events, the article offers a more subtle analysis of terms and of situations of violence so as to contribute to the establishment of a research project and, in a second phase, to an awareness-raising campaign focusing on these complex phenomena.
    • Care for victims of sexual violence, an organization pushed to its limits: The case of Médecins Sans Frontières

      Duroch, F; Schulte-Hillen, C (International Committee of the Red Cross/Cambridge University Press, 2015-09-09)
      Over the past ten years, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has provided medical care to almost 118,000 victims of sexual violence. Integrating related care into MSF general assistance to populations affected by crisis and conflicts has presented a considerable institutional struggle and continues to be a challenge. Tensions regarding the role of MSF in providing care to victims of sexual violence and when facing the multiple challenges inherent in dealing with this crime persist. An overview of MSF’s experience and related reflection aims to share with the reader, on the one hand,the complexity of the issue, and on the other, the need to continue fighting for the provision of adequate medical care for victims of sexual violence,which despite the limitations is feasible.
    • Description and Consequences of Sexual Violence in Ituri Province, Democratic Republic of Congo

      Duroch, F; McRae, M; Grais, RF; Médecins Sans Frontières (Operational Centre Geneva), Geneva, Switzerland; Epicentre, Paris, France; Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Cambridge, Massachusetts, US; Geneva Center for Education and Research in Humanitarian Action (CERAH), University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland (2011-04-19)
      ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The war in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has been the subject of numerous studies related to the problem of sexual violence. Historically, such violence is known to be part of strategic war plans to conquer and destroy communities, but it is now unfortunately prevalent in times of relative calm. METHODS: We describe the characteristics and consequences of sexual violence in Ituri province of Democratic Republic of Congo through the retrospective analysis of 2,565 patients who received medical care in the Medecins Sans Frontieres sexual violence clinic in the capital of Ituri province, Bunia, between September 2005 and December 2006. Using a standardised questionnaire, we report patients' demographics, number and status of aggressor(s), forced detention and violent threats among other variables for all patients presenting for medical consultation after a sexually violent event during this period. RESULTS: Ninety-six percent of our cohort were female and 29.3% minors, 18-29 years was the most represented age group. Acts of sexual violence (n= 2,565) were reported to be mainly perpetrated by men with military affiliations (73%), although civilians were implicated in 21% of crimes. The attack was perpetrated by two or more persons in over 74% of cases and most commonly perpetrators were unknown armed males, (87.2%). Male victims accounted for 4% (n=103) of our cohort. Forty-eight percent of our patients reported being attacked whilst performing daily domestic duties outside the home and 18% of victims being detained by their perpetrators, the majority of whom were held for less than 2 weeks (61.6%). CONCLUSIONS: The characteristics of sexually violent acts in Ituri province during this period cannot be simply explained as a 'weapon of war' as described in the literature, meaning the use of sexual violence within a military strategy where it is employed under the orders of a commander to harm a particular community. Whilst the majority of aggressions were by armed men there was an important proportion in which civilian perpetrators were implicated. This type of violence has become part of the general characteristics of violence in this war-torn population. Sometimes, as a means for some military factions to acquire remuneration with impunity and for some civilians, a means to counteract confronting, changing social norms occurring during chronic conflict.