This isn’t an unreasonable request.
In fact, it’s the minimum – as set out in the guidance on how we should be responding to any emergency, and in fact to any form of SGBV, anywhere, at any time.
But in conflict settings around the world, we have seen that efforts to support survivors of SGBV, including survivors of CRSV, is hampered by underfunding of GBV services, the de-prioritization of sexual and reproductive healthcare, and the targeted removal of rights from LGBTI people, women, and ethnic minorities.
Determined women’s rights organizations are doing their utmost to support survivors in crisis around the world. For example, in response to the conflict in Ukraine, our member associations including Women Health and Family Planning, Polish Women's Strike and The Foundation for Women and Family Planning are providing comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services to refugees and host communities. In response to the conflict in Northern Ethiopia, the Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia, the Sudan Family Planning Association and the Djibouti Association for Family Planning are also offering these same life-saving services.
IPPF is committed to preparedness through our SGBV training of our member associations around the world. But while we can support and care for survivors, fundraise, and train service providers, we cannot overcome the legal obstacles to providing vital services, like abortion for example. Women’s rights organizations often point out that the underfunding of their services is often further threatened in crisis when efforts are shifted to responding to conflict-related needs, without seeing that investing in “domestic” services is supporting survivors of CRSV.
CRSV-specific work is necessary. But the protocols, prosecutions and focus cannot succeed without the foundation of women’s reproductive rights, which is currently being eroded. To provide survivors of CRSV with the care they need and deserve, governments, donors and international organisations must invest in SRHR services everywhere – in stable settings, in conflict-prone areas, for refugees, internally-displaced persons and in all communities.
If we wait until a conflict erupts, it is already too late.