Afghanistan has suffered decades of armed conflict involving multiple actors, which has resulted in a heavily armed, militarised society. Afghanistan has suffered decades of armed conflict involving multiple actors, which has resulted in a heavily armed, militarised society. They also generate considerable pressure on men and boys to conform to these norms, as rejecting them can bring dishonour and shame not only on the individual concerned but also on his family and wider community.
Sexual violence against children remains widespread in Afghanistan, within communities as well as in particular contexts such as schools, workplaces and the streets. However, men and boys who have been through sexual violence face significant obstacles in accessing healthcare. They do not know their rights and, like women and girls, lack access both to medical care and to justice. This is compounded by the exclusion and stigmatisation often experienced by survivors of sexual violence. This is where the project run by the All Survivors Project foundation and its national partner, the Youth Health and Development Organisation (YHDO), comes in, endeavouring to improve understanding of the needs of young men and boys who have lived through sexual violence and to see those needs incorporated into suitable guidelines for medical care.
The overarching goal of the project is to facilitate the development and availability of healthcare and support services for all survivors of sexual violence, including boys and men, in three provinces of Afghanistan. The project will equip state and non-state healthcare providers with new knowledge, skills and tools to ensure that all survivors have access to appropriate, high-quality and safe services that are suited to the cultural context as well as to the gender and age of those they support.