My recent experiences in training Syrian physicians in a border community opened my eyes to levels of courage and commitment I have never seen in my 30 years of practice and international work.
Physicians across the world share deeply held convictions and characteristics. We believe in the value of hard work and discipline, are devoted to our patients, respect scientific rigor, and are committed to continuous learning.
An Ethiopian man who sought asylum in the United States had been repeatedly beaten and tortured in his home country simply for engaging in protests against the government. A young Sudanese woman who was an outspoken human rights advocate bears scars from having been burned and beaten by her torturers; she now struggles to interact with people and is afraid of enclosed spaces like subway stations.
It has been less than two weeks since our return from Bukavu, DRC, and now Dr. Denis Mukwege and his family have been the targets of armed violence while defending the rights of victims of sexual violence in the region.
Day one of the training: A 12-year-old school girl walked home with a male friend from class. On the way home, he invited her into his house and she found herself alone with him there. She stated that he forced her to take off her dress and then violated her. (role-playing exercise)