Humanitarian crises are taking an enormous toll around the world. More people are displaced today than at any time since World War II, and among those affected, women and girls are the most vulnerable. More than a quarter of the 100 million people in need of humanitarian assistance are women and adolescent girls of childbearing age, between 15 and 49. They face mounting risks and vulnerabilities, but have limited access to services and insufficient funding to meet their unique health and protection needs.
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“His verbal attacks were merciless,” says Gemila, a 28-year-old Syrian refugee, about her husband. UNFPA Turkey is running safe spaces funded by the European Commission - Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid Operations - ECHO to help survivors of gender-based violence like Gemila.
While the number of child marriages occurring among Syrian refugees in Iraq is not available, research conducted among Syrian refugees elsewhere suggests a link between the poverty and instability facing displaced families like Aysheh’s, and rising pressure for girls to get married. Feeling helpless, Aysheh sought help from the UNFPA-supported Zahrat Al-Yasamin women’s social centre in the camp.
"I was so desperate, I had lost hope. Committing suicide seemed the only escape from the abuse, back then," Fatima* said in an interview earlier this month. "I didn't know how to handle the pain." A mother of eight, Fatima has been married for about two decades.
"There are lots of setbacks in life, but what matters is standing up again," said 33-year-old Cojine*. She would know. She endured years of spousal abuse. It began four years ago, when a classmate asked her to marry him. She agreed.
KHANKE, Iraq - "Do not blame me for repeating my story, as what happened to me is the unforgettable story of my life," Golleh*, a Yazidi woman, said. She had been abducted by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS or Da'esh), and enslaved for eight months.
NABATIEH, Lebanon - In late 2013, Haneen, now 14, fled Syria with her parents and 10 siblings. As her family made its way to the Turkish border, her father sustained injuries that left him paralyzed. Fearing he could no longer feed his 11 children or protect his daughters, he married Haneen, then 13, off to a middle-aged Turkish man.