Gender-based violence is a pervasive public health problem, let alone a violation of human rights.
Inthe author had the privilege to work with an outstanding group of people that helps sexual and gender-based violence SGBV survivors in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The clinic, run by an international nongovernmental organizations, open walk-in to anyone in need, is functioning to the present day. In its 1 st year along, the clinic helped almost survivors, mainly underaged girls.
At the clinic, a highly qualified staff of local doctors and nurses, psychologists, and social workers is available, free of charge, 24 h a day, 7 days a week, and accessible to SGBV survivors in absolute confidentiality.
Survivors are offered all the support they might need as per the WHO guidelines, from medical assistance treating of physical injuries, testing and preventing sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV or hepatitis B, and also gynecological and obstetric care to psychological counseling, as well as specific referrals to shelters, legal aid, or secondary care as needed.
Virginity still is highly valued in Haiti, and the father, mother, the beau-mare, or aunt of the survivor will often approach the doctor and anxiously whisper the question: Sexual and gender-based violence SGBV undermines health and also carries many other different implications legally, morally, and socially for all the actors involved - starting from survivors and their families to perpetrators themselves, as well as local communities and society as a whole. Based on the prognosis, health outcomes of SGBV can be divided into fatal and nonfatal, which can also be grouped into acute and chronic.
SGBV can, in fact, result in a wide spectrum of clinical conditions that may require immediate medical attention, as well as referrals to different consultants and counselors from surgeons and orthopedics for lacerations or fractures, to obstetricians and gynecologists for pelvic inflammatory disease, pregnancy complication, and consequences of unsafe abortions, as well as mental health specialists.
Besides the devastating health outcomes, SGBV also presents social consequences. Globally, regardless of the geographical area, gender violence is constantly complicated by blame and stigmatization. In such societies, rape survivors can face a multiplication of violence: At the loss of dignity, self-esteem and control over their own body, sexual violence survivors have to add the shaming and terrifying thought of having lost their virginity, and its social consequences.
To add more shame and suffering to the sexual violence, survivors will undergo an examination, often forcibly - the so called virginity test - for forensic purposes - looking for proof of the survivor assertion and allegations - or simply for social reasons. At the Portu-au-Prince clinic, a highly qualified staff of local doctors and nurses, psychologists, and social workers is available, free of charge, 24 h a day, 7 days a week, and accessible to SGBV survivors in absolute confidentiality.
In its first year along, the clinic assisted almost one thousand survivors, mainly underaged girls. At the clinic in Port-au-Prince, every member of the team is essential to a successful journey back to a normal life for SGBV survivors. A comprehensive response to sexual and gender violence is Girl hymen sara work; a collaboration among different
Girl hymen sara is essential while maintaining complete respect of the survivor's autonomy and dignity.
Moreover in order to mend the visible and invisible wounds, restore dignity and rebuild confidence an effective medical response to S GBV requires compassion, validation, empathy and lack of judgment from providers.
In Port-au—Prince, the medical staff has never faced a judicial request of virginity examination from a court of law or local authorities; however, parents and relatives of survivors often do ask. Virginity still is highly valued the father, mother, the beau-mare, or aunt of the survivor will often approach the doctor and anxiously whisper the question: A firm answer that calls for a very sensible and clear explanation: This being the case, the entire staff at the SGBV clinic is faced with a difficult task: It's a matter of debunking the myths of virginity that crushes the lives of women globally, and especially for sexual violence survivors who will be shamed and blamed for what another person did to her.
The aftermath of sexual violence is already devastating as it is and rather inevitable; while the humiliation, the physical and mental pain of a gynecological examination, often forcibly conducted is cruel, useless, and Girl hymen sara, therefore it can and should be avoided. In fact, besides the lack of medical or scientific value, studies show that virginity testing is harmful: The vaginal examination appears to be linked to unusual sexual behavior and higher risk of STI infections, despite the fact that in certain areas in Africa, virginity testing aims to reduce the spread such contagious diseases.
To help our patients and tackle such embedded myths, at the gender violence clinic in Port-au-Prince, we decided to put our Girl hymen sara and knowledge together and create a leaflet to inform and explain to patients and their families about virginity: A leaflet to be used as a technical support during consultations, as well educational material in the waiting room or informative sessions.
There is no physical sign that indicates the virginity of a woman: It is not a valuable nor scientific sign of Girl hymen sara It is sufficiently elastic to be penetrated without breaking, but fragile to lacerated by activities other than sexual interactions.
Anatomically, the hymen is a membrane composed of solely connective tissue mainly elastic and collagenous fibers that hormonal levels are able to Girl hymen sara, so it can increase in elasticity or turn into a cornified thin string.
The hymen also presents a range of morphological variations from congenital absence to microperforations and septa. Moreover, in the case of a laceration or notch, it is impossible to identify the cause of the damage. Thus, according to existing evidence, many experts believe the appearance of hymen is not a reliable indicator of virginity or vaginal sex.
In spite of the total lack of any scientific value and the physical and psychological consequences, virginity tests are still performed and imposed on girls all over the world for different reasons — from reducing premarital sex and HIV infection in some parts of Africa, as part of a recruitment and job requirements to join the Indonesian police force, for forensic evidence collection after a sexual assault as well as for assessment of premarital virginity or lack of wedding night bleeding.
Despite the fact that experts and literature find virginity testing scientifically unreliable and that the WHO has prescribed and discredited the practice,[ 101214151618 ] debunking historical myths about virginity remains a challenge, especially as false beliefs such as intact hymen and wedding night bleeding Girl hymen sara embedded in the mainstream culture even among the more educated population and health professionals.
Cultural change is a long process, but every journey starts with a first step, and this is ours at SGBV clinic Girl hymen sara Port-au-Prince, Haiti: We are informing people and hopefully empowering them. We do it for our patients and their families and also for all the women around the world, hoping to raise awareness on virginity testing as an unethical, shaming, medically harmful, and scientifically unreliable practice no health professional should agree on performing.
The author declares a conflict of interest as she has been involved in the establishment and management of the SGBV Pran Men'M Klink and has collaborated to the project on debunking virginity myths that is presented in the article. It was an honor and a pleasure for me to work with such exceptional group of
Girl hymen sara. Not only the medical team-dedicated medical doctors, compassionate psychologists and brilliant nurses-but also the resourceful social workers and the creative IE team, the capable admin and logistic department, the thoughtful cleaners, the skillful drivers and courageous guards.
They have all been of great support and inspiration to me and for this I will be forever grateful to all of them. This article is a tribute to their daily work and efforts to support sexual and gender-based violence survivors.
National Center for Biotechnology InformationU. J Family Med Prim Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer. This is an open access journal, and Girl hymen sara are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4. Abstract Gender-based violence is a pervasive public health problem, let alone a violation of human rights.
Gender-based violence, human rights, virginity, virginity examination. A Public Health Problem Gender-based violence is a pervasive public health problem, let alone a violation of human rights. Health Outcomes of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Based on the prognosis, health outcomes of SGBV can be divided into fatal and nonfatal, which can also be grouped into acute and chronic. Gender-Based Violence and Virginity Testing: Is My Daughter Still a Virgin?
Facts versus Myths In fact, besides the lack of medical or scientific value, studies show that virginity testing is harmful: Conflict of Interest The author declares a conflict of interest as she has been involved in the establishment and management "Girl hymen sara" the SGBV Pran Men'M Klink and has collaborated to the project on debunking virginity myths that is presented in the article.
Acknowledgements Special thanks as well as my deepest and sincere appreciation go to the entire team of the Pran Men'M Klinik in Port au Prince, Haiti. United Nations Population Fund. A Review of Knowledge Assets.
Center for Enquiry into Health and Allied Themes. Satam Udyog Parel; It's in Our Hand. UN Women New York. Taking Action and Generating Evidence. World Health Organization; The Dilaasa Model; Stigma as social control: Gender-based violence stigma, life chances, and moral order in Kenya.
Transforming the healthcare response to intimate partner violence and taking best practices to scale. J Womens Health Larchmt ; Virginity testing beyond a medical examination. Glob J Health Sci. Independent Forensic Expert Group. Statement on virginity testing. J Forensic Leg Med. Virginity and virginity testing: Int J Toxicol Forensic Med. Genital anatomy in pregnant adolescents: Why physicians ought not to perform virginity tests.
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