For many years, women were not systematically
included in biomedical research
and clinical trials, in part because of concern
that if women became pregnant during
the course of the study, the fetus might
be harmed. Unfortunately, though, the policy
meant that researchers simply did not
know certain facts about women’s health.
The impact of an earthquake, flood or war on reproductive health can be devastating.
Communities in crisis are suddenly deprived of reproductive health information and services.
Access is cut off, yet needs persist, even escalate. A large number of refugees and internally
displaced women will be pregnant, facing delivery under dangerous conditions; others may
be victims of violence including rape.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is committed to assisting and protecting women,
men and youth made vulnerable by natural disaster, armed conflict, persecution and other causes.
The legal definition of rape varies from state to state, but for medical purposes, rape is physical assault or penetration of the genital, oral, or anal cavities by the assailant’s body or foreign object with force or without consent of the victim. Thus, in medical environments, rape is better termed sexual assault. Sexual assault is perpetrated primarily against women or children. Far fewer rape victims are males. Rape is increasing, especially the number of elderly victims.