Answer: A fistula is a hole. An obstetric fistula of the kind that occurs in many developing countries is a hole between a woman’s vagina and one or more of her internal organs. This hole develops over many days of obstructed labor when the pressure of the baby’s head against the mother’s pelvis cuts off blood supply to delicate tissues in the region.
The dead tissue falls away and the woman is left with a hole between her vagina and her bladder (called a vesicovaginal fistula or VVF) and sometimes between her vagina and rectum (rectovaginal fistula, RVF).
This hole results in permanent incontinence of urine and/or feces. A majority of women who develop fistulas are abandoned by their husbands and ostracized by their communities because of their foul smell. The traumatic fistula is the result of sexual violence.
The injury can occur through rape or women being butchered from the inside with bayonets, wood or even rifles. The aim of sexual violence is to destroy the women and the community within which the sufferer lives. Once committed, the survivor, her husband, children, and extended family become traumatized and humiliated