Published: 2021-06-03 13:05 | Updated: 2021-06-18 09:42

New thesis about access to health care for victims of sexual violence

Hi there, Gita Rajan, PhD student at the Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care! On June 22 you will defend your thesis “Sexual violence - epidemiology, treatment and access to health care". What is the main focus of your thesis?

Gita Rajan, PhD student at the Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care, NVS. Photo: Peter Cohn.

The main focus of my thesis is on victims of sexual violence, and on different perspectives of their health care needs and health care access. The thesis has a translational and human rights based (HRBA) approach. 

Which are the most important results?  

The most alarming result is that non-emergency care for victims of sexual violence today is insufficient, both in terms of volume and content. This violation of a universal human right hinders progression towards gender-equal health careaccess.That the risk of suicide attempts among young girls exposed to sexual violence increase after contact with healthcare is, for example, both terrible and unacceptable. 

The new method for treating PTSD after rape, where 70% of the participants got rid of their PTSD diagnosis after one treatment of two hours is important and promising. More studies are needed, but the method and results may eventually change how we view PTSD. The proposed gatekeeping model for the analysis of factors that hinder or increase access to good quality healthcare for victims of sexual violence is also important. 

How can this new knowledge contribute to the improvement of people’s health?

The new PTSD-method needs to be further tested, but may eventually change our perspective on PTSD-treatment, and increase access and lower costs for good quality healthcare for victims of sexual violence. The gatekeeping model can also be used to increase access to good quality health care. Meanwhile, it is important to be honest and humble in face of the fact that existing health care for victims of sexual violence is insufficient and edged by gatekeeping mechanisms.

Vad ska du göra nu? Kommer du fortsätta att forska?  

I will definitely continue conducting research. The NGO WONSA - World of No Sexual Abuse, who financed my research, Stora Stiftelsen Sköndal and Ersta Bräcke Sköndal Högskola recentely signed a collaboration agreement, for research and treatment development for victims of sexual violence. That is where you will find me! 

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