Disasters, Crises and Violence against Women: Evidence from Big Data Analysis (Lessons from Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga)

UN Women

Crisis-induced stressors are known to increase the risk of violence against women (VAW).For instance, increased rates of VAW, including rape, were reported after the tsunami in 2007 in Gizo, Solomon Islands, a disaster that resulted in the displacement of approximately 10,000 people. Women and girls in temporary campsites also reported that the distance to water was too great, that men had begun to wait around water sites and that they did not feel safe when bathing. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) reports that due to lack of familial and community support structures, women are disproportionately exposed to violence in displacement settings. In Samoa, a heightened risk of gender-based violence was noted among young girls and adolescents living in temporary urban shelters after the tsunami in 2009 and Cyclone Evan in 2012. Economic stressors associated with environmental and other crises may also contribute to higher incidence of violence against women. For instance, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has asserted that crises affect women and men differently, with women at a heightened risk of intimate partner violence when confined at home with their abusers5, 6.Although COVID-19 infection rates have remained relatively low in the Pacific, lockdown measures, border closures and economic impacts triggered by the pandemic have had
gendered consequences. The effects of the pandemic have overlapped with multiple natural hazards, such as cyclones, typhoons and droughts, and this may have contributed to further increases in the incidence of VAW.

Research Type(s)
UN/IGO Document
September 7, 2023
Published in

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