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GBV survivors to find solace in UNMISS safe house

By Aweye Teddy Onam


United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has given survivors of gender-based violence (GBV), especially girls and women, a safe haven at the newly constructed center, or ‘Safe House’ for the GBV survivors, opened in Wau yesterday.

Joy and excitement overwhelmed Wau residents when UNMISS handed over a new one-stop center where survivors of sexual and other gender-based violence will receive assistance.

Surviving sexual or other gender-based violence is the tragic reality for all-too-many (mostly) girls and women in South Sudan.

UNMISS field officer in Wau, Sam Muhumure, said having access to a single place to handle the aftermath of the trauma and getting the necessary support makes the road to recovery less painful, and that is something that residents in Wau can now count on.

“One way of protecting civilians is by supporting facilities like this one, where women, children, and men who have been subjected to sexual and gender-based violence can receive help without being stigmatized,” said Sam.

The long-awaited GBV one-stop service center (Safe House) was handed over to the local authorities by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan on Friday, October 13, 2023.

“The construction of the center, consisting of a reception, a laboratory, a ward, and offices for doctors, counsellors, and police investigators, was funded by the peacekeeping mission and undertaken by the local non-governmental organization Save the Child”, he disclosed.

Ann Daniel, the Director General of the Western Bahr el Ghazal State Ministry of Gender, acknowledged that the infrastructure itself, even in mint condition, won’t be of much use unless local health authorities can assign qualified staff to its many different components.

“The number of people needing assistance is large, with survivors from other counties and even other states expected to come here,” she said, while also urging citizens suspecting ongoing cases of gender-based violence to inform the appropriate authorities.”

According to a study done by a Juba Think Tank, substantial proportions of women aged 15–64 in South Sudan experience gender-based violence, either physical or sexual violence, in their lifetime.

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