Four days earlier, Rosario’s husband was murdered and she was raped in front of her children, aged one and eight. The family used to live on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa, in a little town in the Francisco Morazan department. They moved to Nueva Capital due to insecurity and a lack of public services.
When she arrived at the health centre, Rosario’s overriding fear was that she might be pregnant. At the centre, the MSF psychologist explained to Rosario that, besides taking medication to prevent sexually-transmitted infections, HIV and a possible pregnancy, she should have a mental health consultation. Rosario was aware that the traumatic event had deeply affected her, as she replayed the incident in her mind over and over again, and it had deeply affected her children too.
Victims of sexual violence, like Rosario, often go through a tremendously difficult and painful process as they attempt to deal with their experiences. In Honduras, according to the testimonies of MSF patients, victims of sexual violence are stigmatised and may be denied medical assistance in health centres unless they have a formal police report. According to Honduran law and international protocols, reporting sexual violence is a right and not a duty. But although though sexual violence is a medical emergency, Honduras has no comprehensive health protocol for treating victims of sexual violence.