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A Contemporary Hell: Life Inside a Ba...
Faridpur, Bangladesh
By Miguel Candela
07 Mar 2015

Prostitution in Bangladesh has been legal since the year 2000. However, as Bangladesh is a conservative Muslim country, prostitution carries negative social stigmas. Despite this, severe poverty and economic stagnation have forced women previously employed in other sectors to become prostitutes. Furthermore, many sex workers are underage and child prostitution is rife. Female sex workers are often abused and and always underpaid, earning as little as $0.50 per customer.

However, there is growing awareness among sex workers and they have started to organize themselves in unions. One organization of sex workers is called the “Prostitute Association of Faridfur,” founded in Faridpur district, near the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka. These associations were formed to establish a “union” among sex workers and protect them from abuse. Despite the face of a unified force in having associations to represent these sex workers, radical Islamic conservatives have openly condemned these women. In 2010, these radicals burned a brothel to the ground. That incident injured two women and left all of the other tenants homeless. 

These photos offer intimate portraits of women who's daily lives consist of abuse and exploitation as they struggle to survive on the fringes of one of the poortest societies on earth. 

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No To Marital Rape
By ABOUD YOUSSEF
18 Aug 2014

A campaign targeting Lebanese and Arab audiences to raise awareness about the harm of marital rape. The video is a dramatized piece designed to convey its message with few words.

The promo starts with a bride taking pictures for her wedding. The classical background music gives the sense of romance and joy.
Video and music fades then into a contrary mood. The bride seems to be scared and sad, the groom appears in the background with a mask covering half of his face, as a symbol of double personalities.
The bride's makeup is smeared. She drops the flowers bouquet, as the groom appears with a close up to his half masked face.
A blood spot appears on the screen as it fades into a black screen where the slogan "No For Marital Rap" shows at the end.

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Miss Thailand Calls for the Death Pen...
Bangkok
By Ana Salvá
01 Aug 2014

The rape and murder of a 13 year old girl on a crowded train traveling to Bangkok, has caused thousands of people to call for tougher penalties for the aggressors. The most popular campaign, headed by Boom Panadda, actress and Miss Thailand in 2000, calls for capital punishment for sex offenders. The actress has collected more than 100,000 signatures in just three days, 40% of which are men, and received 150,000 letters of support from Spain, Japan, America and Laos.

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Thailand Re-Launches Women-Only Train...
Bangkok
By Ana Salvá
01 Aug 2014

On August 1, 2014, the Thai government brought back train carriages for women and children under 10 years old. These carriages ceased to be operational in 2002 due to financial losses.

This move comes after the shocking rape and murder of Nong Kaem, a girl of 13 who was traveling on an overnight train to Bangkok on July 6. Since this incident hundreds of thousands of people are pressuring the government to take action and toughen penalties for sex offenders, calling for capital punishment.

The case of Nong Kaem is not exceptional. A report from the Thai Government, 2012, indicates that 3,431 rape offenses were reported in that year were and that authorities arrested 1,721 alleged attackers. Many of these victims are young girls.

In Thailand the death penalty is used on those found guilty of crimes related to drug trafficking or murder, but not sex offenders. They are sanctioned with imprisonment from four to 20 years and fines of 8,000 baht (187 euros) to 40,000 (935 euros). But these laws are rarely enforced and sentences have been reduced, in some cases, by three or four years.

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Women-Only Carriages in Thailand 5
Bangkok
By Ana Salvá
01 Aug 2014

August 1, 2014
Bangkok, Thailand

One of the women aboard the new female-only carriages. Women can optionally use these new special wagons.

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Women-Only Carriages in Thailand 2
Bangkok
By Ana Salvá
01 Aug 2014

August 1, 2014
Bangkok, Thailand

One of the signs on the new female only train carriages. This new measure was taken following the shocking rape and murder of Nong Kaem, a girl of 13 who was traveling on an overnight train to Bangkok on July 6. Since this incident hundreds of thousands of people are pressuring the government to take action and toughen penalties for sex offenders, calling for capital punishment.

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Women-Only Carriages in Thailand 1
Bangkok
By Ana Salvá
01 Aug 2014

August 1, 2014
Bangkok, Thailand

One of the workers welcomes train passengers. Thailand re-launched female-only carriages for women and children under 10 years old. Since 2002 these carriages were no longer operational due to financial losses.

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Women-Only Carriages in Thailand 4
Bangkok
By Ana Salvá
01 Aug 2014

August 1, 2014
Bangkok, Thailand

Two workers stand in front of the new women-only carriages. The new carriage for women will have female staff on board.

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Women-Only Carriages in Thailand 3
Bangkok
By Ana Salvá
01 Aug 2014

August 1, 2014
Bangkok, Thailand

A woman and her daughter ride on the new women-only carriages. The woman says that she feels much safer traveling in this new wagon.

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Outspoken Jordanian Rape Survivor Exh...
Byblos
By Imad Masri
10 Jun 2014

June 10, 2014
Byblos, Lebanon

Outspoken Jordanian artist and rape survivor Manal Samir exhibits her art in Byblos, Lebanon. She cannot show her artwork in Jordan because of the social constraints and taboos that surround the issues of rape and mental illness. 34 year old Manal Samir was first raped by her close relative at the age of 4. The sexual abuse continued until she reached the age of 15 and was old enough to know it was wrong and speak out against it. She got married at the age of 27, but divorced after just 2 years. An art school graduate, she uses her artwork art work confronts her childhood trauma and failed marriage. Manal also suffers from Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

Transcript:

(01:07) “I want to say so many things, first of fall I want to say that this kind of damage is very painful and dangerous; nobody can imagine the repercussions of it. I could have hidden my face, and appeared only as a voice, but how many people have appeared only with a voice and their faces hidden? No I will appear with my face and voice, and speak out loud. This harm should stop, because this kind of harm burns the life of the person, it is a horrible thing for a child to be killed before they grow up, if you want to hurt a child, kill him, just do not let him live a sick fragile life and that is why I am trying to deliver that message” (01:58)

(02:41) “I am not only addressing the Arab world with my message, I am addressing it to the whole world, millions around the world are suffering from this difficult issue and they are living a very numb and confused life, I do not know how years are passing by to them” (03:04)

(03:38) “A person grows and gets blamed for being violent or harmful or wrong but in reality they are a victim” (03:50)

(04:30) “Beirut, I love it so much, we all know how much harm Beirut has suffered from, financially and emotionally, and all kinds of harm, till Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri came and got Beirut up on its feet, and I consider myself, of course if you allow me and it is an honor to be a twin with Beirut, because I rise from the ashes, just as Beirut rises from the ashes, Manal also falls and always rises, and she likes to be similar to Beirut, and I wish you would accept me to be a twin of Beirut” (05:17)

(06:10) “This piece specifically is not like any other piece, it has nothing to do with the sexual harm, it is related to a damage that happened later on; this is a young beautiful girl who can grow up to be like all the other young girls, like my sisters, or anybody else but they destroyed her life in a different way, she almost hit puberty, she did not actually and look where she found herself, she is wearing something she does not even understand what it is, she is wearing shorts underneath, she truly does not understand anything, and when this young girl grows up she will become like this picture and she will suffer from enormous pain and her life will become ashes and broken glass, and we do not want that, please stop” (07:24)

(08:00) “My whole purpose is to find help everywhere just as I found help here in Beirut because I want to deliver my message to the furthest places on earth, and a little while ago I got someone telling me that a similar thing happened to them when they were a child and they thanked me for the encouragment, this is a small fragment of my dreams” (08:35)

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Shamans and Pills: Healthcare in DR C...
Goma
By Patrick
03 Jun 2014

April 2014,
Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo

After experiencing the deadliest war since World War 2, healthcare in the Democratic Republic of Congo is in disarray and millions of people are relying on shamans and spiritual healers to treat their physical and psychological disorders. The absence of infrastructure and health care facilities, combined with a lack of faith in western-style medical treatment, means that most patients go to local shamans or radical Christian ‘houses of prayer’ instead of hospitals. Many of these ‘traditional’ health practitioners believe that mental and physical disorders are the result of witchcraft or demonic possession, and thus condone the use of highly unorthodox methods to ‘extract’ the illness or 'demon'. In the DRC, western-style health institutions are regarded only as a last-ditch solution. This attitude has only exacerbated the endemic and led to many deaths from treatable diseases.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 01
By Patrick
28 Apr 2014

Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Minister Moise Munyuabumba runs the 8th CEPAC Galilaya Church, a 'house of prayer', which belongs to the Pentecostal movement. Pentecolism is a form of Christianity that emphasizes the work of the Holy Spirit and the direct experience of the presence of God by the believer. Minister Munyuabumba has been using religion to try and heal the mental and physical disorders of the people who come to his church.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 02
By Patrick
28 Apr 2014

Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Here Minister Moise Munyuabumba is giving a sermon at the house of prayer. Every saturday people come to him in the hope of being healed. They believe in divine healing through prayer and consider all illness a consequence of the sin of man.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 03
By Patrick
28 Apr 2014

Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Minister Munyuabumba tries to treat Beat Mekarubamba, who has breast cancer. The Minister says she has cancer because she is the second wife of a polygamist and that she will only be healed if she accepts her sin.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 04
By Patrick
28 Apr 2014

Goma, North Kivu, DRC. This is Lwanda Binwa, a regular at the 8th Cepac Galilaya Church. She began to have prophetic visions about Beat Mekarubamba, the woman with breast cancer (previous picture). She went into a trance and was making prophecies for around 15 minutes.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 05
By Patrick
28 Apr 2014

Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Men pray at Minister Munyuabumba's church.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 06
By Patrick
27 Apr 2014

Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Nyota Kanyere says that thanks to Minister Moise Munyuabumba, she was cured of madness.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 07
By Patrick
27 Apr 2014

Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Isaac Rwanamiza is a traditional healer from the Bakumu tribe. These shamanic healers are recognized by the Congolese Government and supported by the Ministry of Health.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 08
By Patrick
27 Apr 2014

Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Mark Ndibakunri is 11 years old and has elephantiasis. According to local healer Isaac Rwanamiza, this is because Mark stepped on a branch that had a spell on it. On the bed are various objects used in the healing process.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 09
By Patrick
27 Apr 2014

Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Isaac Rwanamiza treats 11-year-old Elephantiasis patient Mark Ndibakunri by “removing” the bad spirits through his totem. According to Isaac, evil spirits are the cause of the Elephantiasis from which the boy is suffering. Isaac sees many patients daily and can charge up to $70 per session. Healers are well respected within their communities and have the blessing of local authorities.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 10
By Patrick
27 Apr 2014

Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Here Isaac is performing another spell on Mark to remove the elephantiasis. He did not say what the bottle was for, but the twine tied around the legs is meant to “trap” the illness and avoid it spreading around the body.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 11
By Patrick
26 Apr 2014

Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Dr. Moise Mbusa is the head doctor at 'Tulizo Letu', or 'Our Comfort', a mental health hospital run by the Brothers of Charity. He is the only properly trained doctor working at the institution. All patients must be seen by him and, if medication is needed, he is the one who prescribes it. Some are required to take medication in order to live. Difficulties arise in remote areas because many are forced to travel long distances by foot just to get their medication, and this can compromise their treatment.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 12
By Patrick
26 Apr 2014

Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Electroencephalography (EGG) enables the detection of epilepsy and other brain-related injuries. Patients come and sit with sensory pads attached to their heads for around ten minutes, while a specialist monitors their brain activity. In this case this girl was fine. She had come in with her parents for an epilepsy check but was not a patient of the hospital.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 13
By Patrick
26 Apr 2014

Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Kome Katenga is a patient of the 'Tulizo Letu' mental institution. He joined the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (ADFL) in the first Congo War when he was just 16. Led by Laurent Kabila, the ADFL was known for its brutality and the recruitment of child soldiers. In 2002, Kome started drinking. He has been admitted into mental institutions seven times since.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 14
By Patrick
26 Apr 2014

Goma, North Kivu, DRC. A feeling of insecurity often increases the effects of mental health disorders. Despite the effort made by international and local NGOs, Western-style psychotherapy and psychiatric treatments are virtually nonexistent in the DRC.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 15
By Patrick
26 Apr 2014

Goma, Norht Kivu, DRC. Deo Kakule is a paranoid schizophrenic. He burned his house down after the fighting forced his mother to leave. Deo is a patient 'Our Comfort'.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 16
By Patrick
25 Apr 2014

Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Ushindi was raped by her cousin when she was 14 years old. With over 1000 women raped every day, the DRC is known as the rape capital of the world. According to these numbers, up to 39% of the population could have suffered sexual abuse at some point in their lives. Ushindi is a patient at 'Our Comfort'.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 17
By Patrick
24 Apr 2014

Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Abimana Lushombo suffers from epilepsy and is a patient at Our Comfort. The ongoing conflict impoverishes the region, creating unemployment that drags Goma´s youth to drug and alcohol abuse. Side effects may include seizures, depression, hallucinations or schizophrenia.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 18
By Patrick
24 Apr 2014

Goma, North Kivu, DRC. A nurse at Our Care sorts through prescriptions. Mental illness, and the institutions that care for those who suffer from it, do not always get the same support as other health sectors. Institutions like the one run by the Brothers of Charity have to find way to support themselves through donations and their network in Europe.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 19
By Patrick
24 Apr 2014

Goma, North Kivu, DRC. The woman in this picture is Mahombi Mungubijira suffers from schizophrenia. Her mother Charlotte (next picture) stays at the facility to care for her. Most families are not able to afford the costs of treatment. Cases like schizophrenia require close monitoring and cannot always be treated in the way they should. Because the facility is so low on staff, family members are always asked to help out with the care of their loved ones.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 20
By Patrick
24 Apr 2014

Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Charlottle Habanuwg (left) stays at the psychiatric facility to take care of her schizophrenic daughter Mahombi (right). Our Care does not have enough staff to take care of all the patients and so, when possible, family members like Charlotte stay and keep constant watch over their relatives.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 21
By Patrick
24 Apr 2014

Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Christine Kahindo was raped by five soldiers while on the way to her parents house. Most of these women are abandoned by their husbands after they are raped. The husbands think that their wives are culpable and consider them damaged goods. They are forced to leave their homes and end up in refugee camps. Christine is now a patient at Our Care.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 22
By Patrick
23 Apr 2014

Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Didier believes he was bewitched by someone close to him. Most Congolese, coming from rural areas, believe in demonic causes of mental illness. However, Didier's mental illness is being treated with western style medical care at Our Comfort.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 23
By Patrick
23 Apr 2014

Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Some patients like Deo arrive at the mental institution wearing leg-irons. These cases normally come from remote areas where there is no medical assistance. They are too dangerous to be left alone and sometimes the families resort to extreme measures to control them.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 24
By Patrick
23 Apr 2014

Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Jaqueline is a displaced refugee from the war and a resident at Our Comfort. She suffers from schizophrenia and does not know where her family is. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), by mid 2013, the ongoing armed conflict in the east has resulted in 2.6 million internally displaced refugees.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 25
By Patrick
23 Apr 2014

Goma, North Kivu, DRC. 'L´École de Vie' is a school for mentally disabled children, run by the Brothers of Charity. Families who can afford it put their children in this institute, the only one of its kind in the region. As with adults, some children are dangerous and require constant surveillance.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 26
By Patrick
23 Apr 2014

Goma, North Kivu, DRC. This is nine year old Aganze Dagano Levi having a kinesiotherapy session at the École de Vie. Kinesiotherapy is a specialized area of medicine in which exercise and movement are used as the primary form of rehabilitation. It´s his first year in this school. Random attacks from rebel groups create stressful situations for pregnant women that can damage the fetus permanently. This creates an increasing number of children born with mental and physical handicaps.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 27
By Patrick
23 Apr 2014

Goma, Norht Kivu. Mentally disabled children, like Siuzione, are known as “biwelele”, which means "useless idiots" in Swahili. They are rejected by society and sometimes ever their own families. Incapable of working or getting married, they become a burden on the community.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 29
By Patrick
16 Apr 2014

Goma, Norht Kivu. Mental illness keep rising in Eastern Congo. Modern medicine has to struggle with traditional healers and praying houses. Easily preventable or treatable diseases become more complicated to treat because of late diagnosis.

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Mental Illness in DR Congo 29
By Patrick
15 Apr 2014

Goma, North Kivu, DRC. Lack of infrastructure makes the treatment of mental illness incredibly difficult. North Kivu, an unstable region since 1994, only has one psychiatric facility that runs without government support.