The Key to Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones

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Sexual violence is a grave problem the world over, but it is particularly prevalent in conflict zones like the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo where I live and practice medicine. I frequently treat survivors of sexual violence, and many of my patients have been victims of this terrible crime on more than one occasion.

Technically, my job is to physically heal the survivors who make their way to our hospital. But these women, men, and even children need more than just medical treatment. They need justice. They need advocates who can stand up for them and say, “no more.”

As a physician, I want to be that advocate. I want to be that voice. I want to provide the evidence that will hold rapists accountable and send the message that these crimes will not be tolerated or ignored anymore. And now I have the key that will enable me to do just that.

This key is a mobile app called MediCapt created by Physicians for Human Rights. MediCapt allows clinicians like me to document evidence of sexual violence in a secure way and submit medical-legal proof to the justice system in real time. Using my smartphone, I can document evidence of the crime, including photographs, and then send the encrypted files to my colleagues in law enforcement and at the court who will prosecute the cases.

MediCapt allows me to play an important role in addressing crimes committed against my patients and assists the survivor in the healing process. This essential tool will help survivors regain their confidence, knowing that there is a medical-legal team working on their behalf.

I was fortunate to have been one of the physicians selected to pilot the app in my community, and I can already see the potential that MediCapt has for safely and securely documenting sexual violence and achieving justice for survivors.

I also had the honor of presenting the new app to an international audience at this year’s Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London. I was amazed by the incredible number of people who came from the around the world to combat this global problem. I told the crowd there that our whole team believes strongly that MediCapt will help us to address this scourge in our community. At the conference I saw that I must redouble my efforts – not only for the survivors I treat in my medical practice, but also for an international community that is working together to end sexual violence in conflict.

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