Mary’s Place: Advocacy, Prevention and Sexual Assault Center of the Coastal Empire wishes to acknowledge the violence and loss of life in Israel and Gaza. Further, the loss of life globally is staggering. We are mourning those killed in Palestine, Israel, Haiti, Congo, Sudan, Ukraine, and all places experiencing conflict, war, and genocide.
The Reproductive Justice framework calls us to use our collective voices to condemn state violence and to advocate for the freedom of all people. Bodily autonomy cannot exist under occupation, dictatorship, or terrorism. As health care and public health professionals, we unequivocally condemn terrorist attacks against civilians and violence during war against civilians. The medical and public health consequences of this violence against civilians in Israel and Gaza have been and continue to be horrendous and catastrophic. When people live in crowded conditions during war, they are at increased risk of sexual and gender based violence. During war and terrorist attacks, exposure to violence and the threat of violence can cause mental health concerns, which can persist for years afterward.
We acknowledge that successful public health work is rooted in social justice, which strives to support health equity for all. We stand firm in advocating for and investing in long term solutions that address the root causes of violence in our communities. We reaffirm our commitment as a public health organization, dedicated to supporting survivors and families impacted by sexual violence. We uplift the American Public Health Association’s call to action that all parties directly and indirectly involved in the violence in Israel and Gaza and its consequences to immediately:
1. End the violence against all civilians and ensure their security;
2. Free all hostages;
3. Protect all health care workers and health care facilities;
4. Ensure that humanitarian assistance is promptly provided; and
5. Begin to build sustainable peace by ensuring human rights and justice for all.
Finally, we recognize the pain, trauma and distress many in our community may be feeling during this time. In the spirit of community care, know that you are not alone. Please visit the support resources listed below.