Sexual and gender based violence against men in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Effects on survivors, their families and the community

Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD, USA.
Medicine Conflict and Survival 10/2011; 27(4):227-46. DOI: 10.1080/13623699.2011.645144
Source: PubMed


Media and service provider reports of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) perpetrated against men in armed conflicts have increased. However, response to these reports has been limited, as existing evidence and programs have primarily focused on prevention and response to women and girl survivors of SGBV. This study aims to contribute to the evidence of SGBV experienced by males by advancing our understanding of the definition and characteristics of male SGBV and the overlap of health, social and economic consequences on the male survivor, his family and community in conflict and post-conflict settings. The qualitative study using purposive sampling was conducted from June-August 2010 in the South Kivu province of Eastern DRC, an area that has experienced over a decade of armed conflict. Semi structured individual interviews and focus group discussions were conducted with adult male survivors of SGBV, the survivors' wife and/or friend, health care and service providers, community members and leaders. This study found that SGBV against men, as for women, is multi-dimensional and has significant negative physical, mental, social and economic consequences for the male survivor and his family. SGBV perpetrated against men and boys is likely common within a conflict-affected region but often goes unreported by survivors and others due to cultural and social factors associated with sexual assaults, including survivor shame, fear of retaliation by perpetrators and stigma by community members. All key stakeholders in our study advocated for improvements and programs in several areas: (1) health care services, including capacity to identify survivors and increased access to clinical care and psychosocial support for male survivors; (2) economic development initiatives, including microfinance programs, for men and their families to assist them to regain their productive role in the family; (3) community awareness and education of SGBV against men to reduce stigma and discrimination and increase acceptance of survivors by family and larger community.

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    • " as discussed above , evidence shows that livelihood outcomes at the household level can be shaped by natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes ( Kirsch et al . , 2012 ; 2011 ) , by long - term health problems such as HIV and AIDS ( Wafula et al . , 2013 ) and by crimes such as cattle rustling ( Schilling et al . , 2012 ) or sexual assault ( Christian et al . , 2011 ) . The effects of such shocks and stresses can either be direct – for example , asset loss through flooding – or indirect , such as when the experience of a particular crime leads to attitudinal and behavioural change amongst affected individuals , which may in turn affect activities and outcomes . As such , we asked detailed questions"
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    ABSTRACT: This paper shows findings from a cross-country panel survey which took place in five conflict-affected countries: DRC, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Uganda. The aim of the survey was to explore people’s experiences, perceptions and expectations of the state and local governance actors with regards to basic service delivery, social protection and livelihoods in fragile and conflict-affected situations. The first round of the survey was conducted in 2012-13. We will be returning to the same households to conduct the second round of our panel survey later this year and in 2015.
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    • "Men and children are known to experience substantial forms of violence [35,52-54]. These populations may have different vulnerabilities, experiences, and interpretations of violence; thus, separate research studies for these groups are warranted. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background High levels of gender-based violence (GBV) persist among conflict-affected populations and within humanitarian settings and are paralleled by under-reporting and low service utilization. Novel and evidence-based approaches are necessary to change the current state of GBV amongst these populations. We present the findings of qualitative research, which were used to inform the development of a screening tool as one potential strategy to identify and respond to GBV for females in humanitarian settings. Methods Qualitative research methods were conducted from January-February 2011 to explore the range of experiences of GBV and barriers to reporting GBV among female refugees. Individual interview participants (n=37) included female refugees (≥15 years), who were survivors of GBV, living in urban or one of three camps settings in Ethiopia, and originating from six conflict countries. Focus group discussion participants (11 groups; 77 participants) included health, protection and community service staff working in the urban or camp settings. Interviews and discussions were conducted in the language of preference, with assistance by interpreters when needed, and transcribed for analysis by grounded-theory technique. Results Single and multiple counts of GBV were reported and ranged from psychological and social violence; rape, gang rape, sexual coercion, and other sexual violence; abduction; and physical violence. Domestic violence was predominantly reported to occur when participants were living in the host country. Opportunistic violence, often manifested by rape, occurred during transit when women depended on others to reach their destination. Abduction within the host country, and often across borders, highlighted the constant state of vulnerability of refugees. Barriers to reporting included perceived and experienced stigma in health settings and in the wider community, lack of awareness of services, and inability to protect children while mothers sought services. Conclusions Findings demonstrate that GBV persists across the span of the refugee experience, though there is a transition in the range of perpetrators and types of GBV that are experienced. Further, survivors experience significant individual and system barriers to disclosure and service utilization. The findings suggest that routine GBV screening by skilled service providers offers a strategy to confidentially identify and refer survivors to needed services within refugee settings, potentially enabling survivors to overcome existing barriers.
    Conflict and Health 06/2013; 7(1):13. DOI:10.1186/1752-1505-7-13
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    ABSTRACT: Women and girls bearing children from rape is a poorly understood subject area in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It is essential to understand the underlying causes and consequences of sexual violence, and their impact on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This article reports on British Academy funded research that examined the impact of bearing a child from rape, and the related health and justice responses. Individual interviews, focus groups and workshops with women, girls and health and justice service providers identified the social, health and psychological consequences of rape and bearing children. Our findings show the negative impact that rape and bearing a child has on Congolese society, and how this impedes the successful achievement of key MDGs. The current research should stimulate debate, and provide a useful resource for policy and service reviews.
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