PhD Candidate - Northwestern University
Documenting Mass Rape: The Emergence and Implications of Medical Evidence Collection Techniques in Settings of Armed Conflict and Mass Violence
I would like to extend my doctoral research by developing two case studies of the work of Doctors without Borders’ Legal Department in Paris (Médecins Sans Frontières, or MSF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva to develop best practices for providing specialized medical care and medical evidence collection in conflict-affected countries. In the dissertation I trace the origins of medical evidence collection techniques and the composition of the transnational networks that advocate for specialized medical care and medical evidence collection for survivors of sexual violence. MSF has been central to these historical developments. I would like to build on my doctoral research to explore how MSF's work in this area has evolved and contributed to best practice guidelines published by the WHO in 2004. These guidelines direct first responders in collection of medical evidence to document sexual violence. I am in contact with the senior legal advisor at MSF to discuss an historical project that would involve MSF's organizational archives in Paris. MSF’s internal documents and templates for medical certificates would be an unparalleled asset in charting this history. I am also in touch with the WHO lead for women’s health who has been involved in drafting WHO’s best practice guidelines in this area. I would request access to WHO’s archives and internal documents pertaining the development and publication of their guidelines for use in settings of armed conflict, mass violence, and other humanitarian emergencies.