All week I (Jessica) have been back and forth between Ganta (our Liberian hometown) and Saclepea (about 1 1/2 hours away) organizing and assisting in the training of 17 Physician’s Assistants and RNs in the Clinical Management of Rape. Even in Liberia there are tons of details that go into having an effective training! It isn’t easy-o!
Philip from EQUIP Liberia’s Protection Team talking about legal and ethical issues of treating survivors.
The refugee influx along with Liberia’s instability and cultural taboos provides and open door for issues surrounding sexual gender based violence (SGBV). EQUIP’s Gender Based Violence Program is actually addressing these issues and working with Liberia’s justice system to find perpetrators and get convictions. Truly something that is unheard of in Africa.
Trainees work on case studies in groups.
Along with the justice component of SGBV there is the clinical management of gender based violence. Women (also, men and children) that have suffered these attacks should be seen in the clinic immediately. The training that EQUIP conducted gave clinicians the tools they need to counsel, examine, refer and collect forensic evidence for rape and abuse survivors.
Liberian’s always make time to relax! Even during a training!
The training has gone really well. The communities that the trainees have come from (many from clinics along the Ivorian border) commonly experience this type of violence and cases of abuse. These issues are not foreign to Liberians because unfortunately many were victims of such acts during the war and it is often a part of the culture rather than an anomaly. Cases are unfortunately drastically under-reported and most go untreated for physical and emotional problems that result from such abuse. The participants were eager to learn how to work with the survivors in their area to begin healing and hopefully assist the survivor towards justice.
A representative from USAID came to the training and was highly complimentary. She even suggested that the way that we did the training should be a framework for the whole country!