|Photo courtesy of http://hhi.harvard.edu/programs-and-research/women-in-war|
What is a fistula? The explanation is not for the squeamish. Simply put, a fistula is a hole between the birth passage and an internal organ such as the bladder or rectum, damaging a woman so severely that she cannot hold her urine, and.or bowel content. Prolonged labour or complicated childbirth without medical intervention can cause a fistula as can sexual violence. More than the physical scar is the societal blemish a fistula imposes. If she survives, a woman with fistula is likely to be rejected by her husband because of her inability to bear more children and her foul smell. She will be shunned by her community and forced to live an isolated existence. These women suffer profound psychological trauma resulting from their utter loss of status and dignity, in addition to suffering constantly from their physical internal injury.
This week I donated to the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) partnership with Panzi, a Congolese hospital, focused on identifying ways to prevent and reduce the impact of violence that can protect Congolese women's health and human rights at the individual, community, and international levels.They also work to provide counselling to the men of the community to help shift attitudes and promote healing.
These women need the help and empathy of their sisters around the world who can relate to their suffering. I can count my blessings and dig deep as one whose biggest problem on a given day is whether to charge it or use my debit card.
Read about my weekly Give a Little challenge and other posts. I have to give ongoing props to Wendy Smith for her inspiring book, Give a Little. Consider giving it a read.