Causes of Sexual Violence - Societal Factors - Disasters and Lack of Infrastructure

Disasters and Lack of Infrastructure

Major disasters, particularly where safe spaces, privacy, and access to justice are minimized and destroyed, can play a key role in increasing rates of sexual violence. Speaking at the UN General Assembly in 2010, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, its Causes and Consequences noted women’s particular vulnerability and increased risk of experiencing violence following disasters. The sexual violence experienced by large numbers of Haitian women and girls living in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps created following the January 2010 earthquake is one example. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights recognized the need for state actors to respond to gender-based violence committed by private actors, in response to a petition by Haitian groups and human rights lawyers calling on the Haitian government and international actors to take immediate measures—like increasing lighting, security, and access to medical care—to address sexual violence against women and girls in the IDP camps.

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