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  • Gender-based Violence

    In Today’s Refugees I Am Finding My Mother’s Memories

    "We heard cases of pregnant women about to deliver who declined medical attention so they could keep moving. In some instances, it was the husbands who pressured their wives against seeking medical help," says Jurate Kazikas, a board member of the Women's Refugee Commission. 

    No Safety for Women Along the Refugee Migration Route

    The risk of violence for women, girls and other vulnerable groups is present at every stage of the European refugee migration; and at every point where risk could be mitigated, the opportunity to do so is squandered, according to an assessment by the Women’s Refugee Commission.

    Women and girls caught in refugee crisis lack protection

    "There are not adequate protection services on the ground to both identify and prioritize women’s needs," said Executive Director Sarah Costa.

    Refugee Women Seeking Safety in Europe Risk Sexual Abuse, Violence

    "Those most at risk of sexual abuse and violence include single women traveling alone or with children, pregnant and lactating women, adolescent girls, unaccompanied children and early married children."

    IRIN's Top Picks: Neutral aid, women refugees, and unequal inequality

    "As local authorities and aid agencies have struggled to respond to the mass movement of migrants and refugees through Europe last year, the vulnerabilities of the many women travelling alone or with small children have been largely forgotten."

    Report warns refugee women on the move in Europe are at risk of sexual and gender-based violence

    “Because the reception facilities in Europe were not set up to prevent or respond to SGBV, women and girls are not getting the protection they need and deserve from this humanitarian response,” said Sarah Costa, Executive Director of the Women’s Refugee Commission. “We should commit to the interventions that we know will help, including deploying SGBV experts along the route.”

    Marcy Hersh and the Fight for Female Refugees

    "When a crisis happens, women and girls are separated from the usual mechanisms that keep them safe and protected. It is inevitable that gender-based violence, in particular, increases," says Marcy Hersh, Senior Advocacy Officer at the Women's Refugee Commission.

    Advocates Call ICE Raids ‘Classic Reproductive Oppression’

    "Many of the women asylum seekers being targeted by DHS were escaping gender-based violence in their countries of origin. During migration, it is believed that 80 percent of women and girls crossing into the United States by way of Mexico are raped during their journey."

    Our Ongoing Commitment to Refugee Women and Children

    Statement by Sarah Costa, Executive Director

    I just returned from Serbia and Slovenia, where we assessed the needs of refugee women and girls making the treacherous journey through Europe in search of safety.

    Refugees with Disabilities At Highest Risk of Gender-based Violence

    Driven by stigma or the urge to protect, families tend to hide those with disabilities. Discrimination and isolation intensifiy the pervasive risk of gender-based violence. By focusing on physical and social inclusion, humanitarians can mitigate this isolation.

    Protection from Gender-based Violence for Refugees

    Gender-based violence does not start with the conflict, though it increases in incidence and, often, in savagery. This year, the Women's Refugee Commission helped launch the Call to Action on Protection from GBV in Emergencies, a multi-stakeholder initiative that rightfully puts GBV on par with necessities like water and shelter.

    Women from Central America on the Run from Violence

    Women fleeing Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador have been subjected to a constant threat of violence, including threats, assault, murder and rape and their governments are unable to protect them. The violence these women flee is as horrific as any in the world.

    Women Refugees Are “Running For Their Lives” In Central America

    “If someone is going after a young man who is refusing to join a gang, they’ll threaten their mother, sister, or girlfriend. Women also face threats of rape, domestic violence, and there are no shelters or places to keep them safe," said Michelle Brané, of the Women’s Refugee Commission.

    Self-Sufficiency Would Help Syrians Most

    If distance from bombs is all refugees have, they will eventually look for more opportunity, even if it means making a perilous journey. The question should not be which countries can afford to provide these refugees with their basic needs but, rather, how the world can provide opportunity to people forced to flee their homes and lives through no fault of their own.

    Making Livelihoods Safe for Women in Northern Iraq

    Both Kurdish and Arab women in Iraq prefer – or are pressured by their male family members – to stay close to home, limiting their opportunities to safely generate income, even while the country's conflict has significantly, negatively impacted most of the livelihoods in this region.

    The Rights of Refugee Women and Girls in the European Crisis Can’t Be Ignored

    Around the world, women fleeing conflict and violence are undertaking perilous journeys during which they are often raped and exploited. And the violence directed against them doesn’t end when they stop running. But we haven’t seen these women much. They’re outside the frame of the journalists’ photos and they are not prioritized in the emergency response.  

    Where There Is No Doctor: Community-based Medical Care for Survivors of Sexual Violence

    In 2008, the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) set into motion an initiative to provide post-rape care to women caught in some of the world’s most dangerous circumstances. 

    Women, Peace and Security Agenda Still Hitting Glass Ceiling

    "The key challenges in protecting women and children in emergencies, and ensuring women are able to participate in these processes, is not related to knowing what needs to happen. We need a commitment to do it, said Marcy Hersh of the Women's Refugee Commission.

    Local Civil Society Consulted at HQ, Less So in the Field

    Local organizations are perfectly placed to help crisis-affected communities. Their work merits attention--as well as funding and leadership roles--at the field level. 

    Is Germany Failing Female Refugees?

    “These things that weren’t expensive to solve, that would’ve gone a long way to improving women’s safety and dignity, were completely overlooked,” says Marcy Hersh, WRC senior advocacy officer.