Women in internally-displaced persons (IDP) camps in parts of earthquake-affected Türkiye are being physically and sexually abused by their husbands and other family members, raising additional worries about the long-term psychological consequences of February's devastating earthquake that displaced millions.
IPPF’s local partner in one of the camps, the Association of Public Health Specialists (HASUDER), has reported cases of rape and violence against women, with many families facing the stress of unemployment and dire living conditions, including serious hygiene problems in the camps.
HASUDER initiated the Women and Reproductive Health Service Unit with support from IPPF and the Hatay Metropolitan Municipality. Hatay Province was the most affected province by the earthquake, with most of the hospitals and almost all primary health care centers either destroyed or severely damaged.
According to one woman, Ceren*: “My husband is very oppressive, he wants me to be like a slave. He says, ‘Do not do this, do not go there, who are you dressing up for in a tent?’ Not only himself but also his family and relatives are very involved.” She was referred to HASUDER after she was raped by her husband, where she received emergency contraception and was provided with legal advice. She is also receiving psychological care.
Professor Bülent Kılıç, head of HASUDER, says that another issue in the camps is the unmet need for contraceptives, which has soared to nearly 50% and has contributed to a rise in unplanned pregnancies among the women they surveyed.