According to the MSF, an unknown number of women in the country that descended into extreme levels of anarchy, violence and lawlessness are experiencing psychological and physical trauma having been brutally raped.
Since July, MSF has offered assistance and support to 247 victims of sexual violence in the capital Bangui. Most of them have been women, but girls down to the age of eight and a several men have also sought assistance and support.
“People are ashamed to come, but when they have the possibility of free care and support, they muster up the courage and come nevertheless,” said Helene Thomas, an MSF clinical psychologist at the clinic at Bangui’s General Hospital.
The support at the clinics ranges from tests for pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, as well as psychological consultations.
These provide the patients with a safe space to share their experiences and to discuss their feelings of sorrow, humiliation and fear. The victims also get checked for signs of depression.
According to Helene Thomas, it is impossible to quantify the number of victims but indications show the magnitude of the calamity could be severe. “I am convinced that we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. There are many, many more victims out there,” she stated.
She added that some of the women will remain traumatized for life although with the support of the family they might be able to pull through and end up having a life without severe psychological trauma.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)