Mechanisms for prevention and protection from sexual violence in Salah AL-Deen camps

  • Written by:

Alyaa Al- Ansari
Activist in the field of women’s rights
Executive Director of Bent Al-Rafedain Organization(BROB)
Thousands of IDPs women in Salah AL-Deen camps lives in difficult conditions in terms of lack of basic living conditions, loss of security and safety, and lack of a secure environment for the preservation of rights and dignity.
The point that increases the risk of harassment and sexual violence, is the silence on this sensitive type of violence and the lack of adequate and clear mechanisms of telling and reporting such abuses in a manner that preserves the dignity of women and provides them with good procedures to obtain their rights or to provide them with adequate protection.
While the world is talking about measures to prevent sexual violence, the conditions of camps in which displaced women live are not adequately qualified to provide protection or even to deter those who commit such abuses against women. Information indicates that women are exploited in humanitarian distribution sites to be exploited by camp staff for women with no dependents and family leaders, with women afraid to talk about it and unable to deter those people because their loss of power and protection.
There are hundreds of women who have lost their husbands by virtue of fighting or displacement. Some have been raped or sexually assaulted. They are victims of exploitation and abuse. There are many stories in this area, but because of the absence of mechanisms of secret and legal protection for them, these women prefer to remain silent about their reality because if They speak they will become marketing material for some organizations that take their stories without any help or improvement of their situation.
The authority of men in the management of camps has a major role in the absence of protection mechanisms or prevention for women, and often the authority is heavily supported legally and socially, making men immune from punishment or even without accountability. Thus doubling women’s fear of reporting or even talking. The lack of female component in the women’s camp management has contributed to the doubling of men’s exploitation of women in these locations.
The talk of sexual violence against women in the camps in addition to what they have been subjected to during the displacement of exploitation harassment and aggression should be on the top of the list of international governmental and local interests, and concerted efforts to find the right solutions for prevention, protection and dignity. while what now exists on the ground is limited to the provision of prevention and protection measures and the preservation of the dignity of women.