Violence against women and girls is all too prevalent in the world. It crosses cultures, economic status and ethnicity.Violence can take many forms; domestic abuse, trafficking, rape, or harmful practices such as early marriage and female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C).It can occur at any time but the risk of violence increases in emergency or conflict situations. Women and children become increasingly vulnerable as stability, protection and family are replaced by chaos, stress and displacement.Anyone can be affected by sexual and gender-based violence in conflict - male or female, of any age. But violence against women and girls is often rooted in long-term behaviours and attitudes.The effects of violence against women and girls can be just as deep and far-reaching. A survivor's life may be changed through damage to her sexual and reproductive health and to her psychological and physical well-being.The ripples of violence reach families, communities and nations.In the weeks following the 2010 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, reports to police of domestic violence increased by 20 percent. Similar increases in domestic abuse were recorded in New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina.
(Source: High-Level Event on Violence Against Women and Girls in Emergencies concept note, DfID 2013)
Raped by soldiers and a fellow refugee, Stephanie conceived a baby through rape at the age of 15. She describes the effects her experiences have had on her mind: