I’ve treated more than 25 individual rape cases since late August.  A 20-year-old woman was treated on Sept. 10, seven days after she said she was raped by a soldier in Myanmar. Handwritten notes say she said soldiers had “pulled her hair” and a “gun used to beat her” before raping her.

At the time finding injuries suggesting forced penetration, beating and even what looked like intentional cutting of the genitals.

We found skin marks, it showed a very forceful attack, an inhuman attack, such as incidents of vaginal tearing, bite marks and signs that seemed to show a firearm was used to penetrate women

A woman who i recall treating, was raped by at least seven soldiers. She was extremely weak and traumatized and said she struggled to make it to the clinic. She had a laceration on the vagina. Some were given emergency contraceptives, and all were given treatment to reduce the risk of contracting HIV and jabs against hepatitis. 

Rape, as you acknowledge, is a weapon. This is a fraction of the cases that are likely to be out there. 

Survivors of sexual assault need access to emergency and long-term medical services, legal assistance, and social support to address injuries caused by the assault; to prevent pregnancy, HIV, and other sexually transmitted infections; and to collect evidence to support prosecution of perpetrators. 

Thru our facilities we (MSF) can provide essential and life-saving care, other medical treatment, and psychological counseling to sexual assault survivors. The window during which we can effectively administer emergency contraception (120 hours) and post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV (72 hours), as recommended by the World Health Organization. There are women who cannot reach our facilities or any other aid clinics, taking only paracetamol, a mild painkiller, after they were assaulted.

A lack of knowledge about services and how to access them has stopped women from getting care. Many other women said they did not seek medical care, including at government or humanitarian-supported facilities where they could receive treatment for free, because they believed incorrectly that they would have to pay for services, or because they did not know they could access them. Some women also cited financial difficulties paying for transport to facilities, or said that they had no one to watch their children while they visited. More efforts are also needed to encourage and educate those who may need services about how they can access them.

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