Program Coordinator: Ahmed Mohammed Saleh
Contact Us: [email protected]
Gender-based violence (GBV) encompasses many types of violence including physical, sexual and psychological violence directed against a person or a group of people based on gender, and is ultimately a manifestation of deeply rooted gender inequalities. Whilst GBV is not limited to women, globally the vast majority of GBV affects women and girls reflective of their inferior status in many societies. Perpetrators of GBV range from individuals to institutions and states which condone such violence.
As medical students and future physicians, we will be at the forefront of recognizing violence often as the first point of contact, however, very few medical schools train students how to recognize and subsequently manage cases of GBV. As health care professionals we are not only in a unique position to sensitively respond to individual cases of gender-based violence (secondary prevention) but also have the chance to affect systemic causes. Primary prevention can be achieved through the promotion of gender equality and the questioning of traditional gender roles.
The IFMSA program on gender-based violence aims to raise awareness and to take positive steps to prevent and address the harmful effects of GBV on victims and communities. We aim to do this through capacity building, advocacy, and research work. In particular, we hope to focus our efforts on three populations; (1) medical students and their respective institutions, (2) local communities, particularly the youth through school education programs (3) and local/national governments. As the regions in which the IFMSA operates are very diverse, research regarding regionally specific issues and causes of GBV will be an overarching goal to successfully implement relevant programming.
We aim to provide national and international training for medical students that equip students with knowledge and skills of how to recognize GBV and how to act to protect those in danger including the provision of psychological support. Additionally, we hope to explore the root causes of GBV such that medical students can influence wider societal causes by actively promoting gender equality. Alongside training, we also aim to advocate for universities to include GBV within their medical curricula. In addition to focusing on medical students, we also aim to reach a wider local population particularly through awareness campaigns linking GBV to gender stereotypes and norms within society and tackling stigma associated with GBV. Working with educational systems such as schools will provide an opportunity to reach boys and girls to deliver gender equality teaching which stimulates critical reflection on commonly accepted gender stereotypes and norms and further how this may manifest as violence. Finally, on a wider scale, we also aim to engage local and national governments in advocating for laws to ensure the perpetrators of GBV are held accountable and send a wider message to the public.
Activities within the GBV program may focus on (but are not limited to) topics such as sexual harassment and rape, female genital mutilation, domestic violence and marital rape, human trafficking, sexual exploitation, honor killings, dowry-related violence, acid attacks or more broadly the relationship between gender and health.