Annual Oration Opens Window to the World of Gender-Based Violence

The Annual Oration at the MMS Interim Meeting is intended to focus on compelling medical issues, and this year’s presentation certainly delivered. With her presentation Friday afternoon before some 200 physicians, Dr. Gloria White-Hammond opened a window to a world many people never get – or perhaps even wish – to see.

Dr. White-Hammond, a pediatrician at Boston’s South End Community Health Center since 1981 and  Co-Founder and Co-Pastor of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Boston, described the prevalence of gender-based violence around the globe in her presentation, Gender-Based Violence in Armed Conflicts, Sudan as a Case Study.

Stark pictures from her work against violence in Sudan supported her talk, which covered descriptions of the victims and the perpetrators, the many and varied forms of violence, the motivations behind the violence, and the physical and psychological consequences for those affected.

Such violence is “alive and well, worldwide and timeless” said Dr. White-Hammond. “It occurs in all places and at all times. There are no sanctuaries.”  Gender-based violence is occurring in 61 counties around the globe, she said, and while it affects mostly women, boys and men are also targets.

Dr. White-Hammond, who is also the Founding Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur and Chairwoman of Save Darfur Coalition’s “Million Voices for Darfur” campaign, also had a message for physicians, telling them they have a “unique opportunity and urgent obligation” to take the lead in addressing this issue.

“There’s no time to waste,” she said, concluding her presentation. “Lives are at stake, communities are at stake. Let’s get busy.”

View Dr. White-Hammond’s presentation, along with other resources for violence assessment and prevention, at the MMS website here.

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