Impact On Individuals

“I was so angry, so nervous. And totally isolated from everyone. Whenever I saw a man, I felt revulsion. I was scared of talking to them. That’s when the pointing began. Everyone was looking at me and I felt bad. I left school because I couldn’t stand the criticism.” - Survivor of GBV speaking to Amnesty International, 2011

The impact of GBV on individuals is far-reaching and enduring. Sexual abuse mingled with the violence and deprivation experienced amidst conflict would likely intensify the effects of what can already occur after any rape: intense shock, a paralyzing fear of injury or death, and a sense of loss of control over one’s life. The anxiety of living in a conflict/post-conflict environment would also likely [51] compound a woman’s longer-term problems associated with rape. These include persistent fears, avoidance of situations that trigger memories of the rape, feelings of shame, memory loss, inability to respond to life generally, and difficulty re-establishing intimate relationships.

As for the physical effect of rape, an unwanted pregnancy is only one dilemma, though the complications will vary enormously depending upon her age and whether any other bodily abuse, such as wounds, beating, or mutilation has also occurred. Contracting sexually transmitted infections, including but not limited to HIV, is a frequent effect. Girls and women are often raped multiple times and gang-raped, which can generate a much higher degree of physical and psychological injuries and even lead to death.


[51]Landseman, Peter 2002, A Woman’s Work. The New York Times, September 15, 2002.