Women and girls make up nearly half of the 258 million people worldwide who have crossed international borders to escape danger or pursue opportunity. Amidst unprecedented levels of forced displacement – with 68.5 million people driven from their homes by the end of 2017 – about half of refugees, too, are women and girls.
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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.
Refugee women and girls face extraordinary hardships. They endure grave risks and often brutal violence, and many are thrust into poverty. But they can also face another, more intimate, hardship, one that is seldom discussed - the effects of exile on their sexual and reproductive health.
DAMASCUS, Syria - Ruqayya was pregnant when she fled the embattled city of Deir ez-Zor, in north-eastern Syria, with her husband and two young children. The family took refuge in Al-Areesheh camp, in Al-Hasakah Governorate - but Ruqayya's ordeal was not yet over.
DAMASCUS, Syria - Fatima and Rasha welcomed new children into the world on the same day - an experience that would be completely unremarkable if not for their circumstances. Both women are living in uncertainty after fleeing the conflict in northern Syria, part of a wave of displacements that continues to grow.
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.