“Violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human rights violation. And it is perhaps the most pervasive. It knows no boundaries of geography, culture or wealth. As long as it continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development and peace”- Former Secretary General Kofi Annan
Sexual gender based violence is a harmful act that has a grave impact on the victim/survivors life. SGBV seriously affects all aspects of a victim/survivors health physical, sexual and reproductive, mental and behavioral health. Health consequences may be both, immediate or long lasting and chronic. This means that negative health consequences may affect the victim/survivor long after the violence has stopped.
The physical consequences of SGBV are injuries, functional impairment and permanent disabilities. Someone that is exposed to SGBV often get psychical mark. For example: bruises, wounds, red marks around the neck, scratch marks and broken bones. Victims/survivors of SGBV are also more exposed to HIV, in sub-Saharan Africa women are disproportionately at risk of both SGBV and HIV infection. Between 39 and 47% of Kenyan women experience SGBV in their lifetime- among the highest rates in the world.
The psychological consequences of SGBV may be post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, fears, sleeping disorders, panic disorders, eating disorders, low self-esteem, and suicidal tendencies. SGBV has a serious impact on a person´s mental health. Often victims are faced with issues of low self-confidence and self-esteem, anxiety, stress. The person doesn’t believe in themselves and have a distorted image of themselves. The person may become more anxious and nervous, one main reason usually because they are afraid of their abuser.
In case of violence against children the impacts can be physical, psychological and sexual health. Studies have shown that children that witness intimate partner violence against their mothers even when the child is not physically targeted, has a negative impact socially. Health consequences for children include anxiety, depression, poor school performance and negative health outcomes.
Christina Malmgren – AGCP