Mohammed Mansour treats Gaza’s victims of sexual assault. Here he describes the dystopian nightmare that Palestinians are living.
For more than a decade you’ve been making frequent visits to the Gaza Strip, as a volunteer who provides psychological assistance.
I’m an expert in trauma treatment, and more specifically of children who have undergone sexual assault or who display abusive sexual behaviour. As part of the humanitarian assistance given, I treat children and train professionals to provide trauma therapy.
I go in and out of Gaza, under the auspices of the Physicians for Human Rights non-profit, every two to three months. In the 1990s I even lived there for half a year while I was doing a research study.
So you’re well acquainted with pre-embargo Gaza, too.
And I understand that it’s your feeling, from your last visit, about a month ago, that something has changed. You discern a new tendency.
Yes. In this visit I encountered a large number of cases of sexual abuse among the children. That’s a phenomenon that has always existed, but in this visit, and also in the previous visit, in August, it suddenly reached far larger dimensions. It’s become positively huge.