Violated Women Need Care in the First Three Days
The organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in El Salvador reported that 74% of the mental health consultations in the last two years have been motivated by violence against women.
The international organization, which in that country works in the cities of Soyapango and San Salvador, reported that it has treated 1,830 people since March 2018, and has taken care of women who have experienced violence because the health system does not receive them, only when it is a medical emergency, according to the local newspaper El Mundo.
This problem includes sexual violence, so MSF warned that the institutions are dedicating “wrong efforts and prioritizing the complaints”, rather than the immediate attention that the female victims need.
In this sense, the organization recalled that victims of sexual violence must be treated in the first three days after the attack and that a sexual assault must be treated as a medical emergency. This is because in the first three days the victim can be given treatment to avoid a sexually transmitted infection such as HIV. It is also time to give her emergency contraception, which will greatly decrease the chance of an unwanted pregnancy. In addition, it is fundamental to provide them with psychological care.
MSF has observed that victims of sexual violence are frequently stigmatized or re-victimized when they approach health institutions and centers to seek help. For this reason, the organization says in a statement, “We serve patients in the first three days after the attack, but also patients who never sought help for fear of the complaint.” These people never received immediate medical attention and this situation has greatly affected their physical and mental health.
According to local information, until December 2020, the Attorney General’s Office had received 2,858 complaints regarding crimes against sexual freedom. Of those cases, 91% of the victims were women.