The lifetime prevalence of sexual and gender based violence among refugee women attending obstetrics and gynecology clinics at Dadaab refugee camp hospitals
Background: Sexual violence occurs through out the world.Although in most countries there has been little research conducted on the problem, available data suggest that in some countries nearly one in four women may experience sexual violence by intimate partner and one-third of adolescent girls report their first sexual debut as being forced. Sexual violence is a widespread international public health problem, and adequate, appropriate and comprehensive prevention and response are lacking in most countries world wide. Objectives: To determine the lifetime prevalence of Sexual and Gender Based Violence among the refugee women attending obstetrics and gynaecology clinics at Dadaab refugee camp hospitals. Methodology: This was a facility based cross sectional survey.The source of data for the study was face to face interview with the refugee women in Dadaab Refugee Camp aged above 18 years and willing to participate. The sample size of 310 was obtained using power analysis of population size. Results: Three quarters of the respondents (75.9%) indicated they were married. Majority of the respondents (88.4%) were Muslims and 6.8% Christians while the rest 5% were composed of traditional believers. Regarding formal education, 39.4% could read easily, 32.6% could read with difficulty and 28.1 % could not read at all. A total of 238 (76.8%) participants reported having undergone one form of sexual or gender based violence. Physical violence was reported by 76.1 % and sexual violence by 45.5% in Dadaab refugee camp. Concerning the distribution of the type of physical violence women experienced, 50.6% of them reported. having been beaten and kicked and 35.5% threatened with a weapon of some kind while 31% had experienced physical disfigurement. Also 50.6% of the survivors reported that they had received threats of murder during the episode. Among those who had been sexually assaulted 29.7 % had been penetrated by force with an object in the vagina and 26.8% reported unwanted kissing. The main perpetrators of sexual and gender based violence were from the disciplined forces accounting for 55.6%, with the least group comprising the medical fraternity at 2% and judges at 0.9%. On the categories of injuries inflicted 49.6% reported deep wounds and cuts while 31.1% reported broken bones. Its vital to note that 49.2% of the clients experienced psychologicsl difficulties like nightmares and intrusive memories. Twelve percent (12.3%)of the refugee women in Dadaab camps conceived after the sexual assault. Conclusion: No significant difference in age was found between those subjected to violence and those who were violence free. The high prevalence of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) among the refugee women in Dadaab is appalling by any standards. What is more worrying is that over 50% of those who were subjected to SGBV also received threats of murder. This coupled with the findings that 33% of the survivors reportedly lost consciousness during the episode the situation looks grim. The disciplined forces who are integral part of the prevention and fight against SGBV are the main perpetrators. Recomendations:. Urgent and concerted effort to sensitize the uniformed forces not to perpetrate violence should be carried ou t and they should be trained III handling the victims/ survivors of SGBV. Training all the health workers serving the refugee women on handling survivors of SGBV will enhance the number of these women seeking help from the formal health institution and not traditional healers. SGBV should be integrated in the regular outpatient services and SGBV prevention should be an integral part of the core function of NGOs including a mandatory induction course for all their employees. Its important to explore the utilization of the religious sector to prevent these vice rather than grappling with its unmeasurable effects.