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Quantifying Vulnerability to Sexual Violence In Haiti’s IDP Camps Third Annual Conference International Network on Quantitative Methods For Human Rights.

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Presentation on theme: "Quantifying Vulnerability to Sexual Violence In Haiti’s IDP Camps Third Annual Conference International Network on Quantitative Methods For Human Rights."— Presentation transcript:

1 Quantifying Vulnerability to Sexual Violence In Haiti’s IDP Camps Third Annual Conference International Network on Quantitative Methods For Human Rights and Development 22 March 2012 Justin Simeone Politics Department, Princeton University Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, NYU School of Law

2 Question: How can advocacy- and policy-oriented researchers more effectively utilize field surveys? Significance: Surveys can provide essential and powerful information for advocates and policy-makers “A human rights group should never lose a factual challenge. Our moral legitimacy depends on speaking truth to power. People who want to dismiss us say we’re just making [things] up. If they’re ever right when they say that, we’re in big trouble.” — Patrick Ball (2012) The Question 1

3 (with Margaret Satterthwaite, Nikki Reisch, and Farrell Brody) An Example: Yon Je Louvri (2012) 2

4 Overview: Reflections on a Survey-Based Investigation 1. Motivation: Identification Strategies 2. Formation: Rights-Based Approaches 3. Implementation: (Semi-)Systematic Designs 4. Examination: Quantitative-Qualitative Analyses 5. Presentation: Community-Oriented Efforts 6. Conclusion: Cross-Disciplinary Partnerships 3

5 Overview: Reflections on a Survey-Based Investigation 1. Motivation: Identification Strategies 2. Formation: Rights-Based Approaches 3. Implementation: (Semi-)Systematic Designs 4. Examination: Quantitative-Qualitative Analyses 5. Presentation: Community-Oriented Efforts 6. Conclusion: Cross-Disciplinary Partnerships 4

6 1. Motivation: Identification Strategies 5

7 Motivation (1/3) The January 2010 earthquake displaced more than two million Haitians in and around Port-au-Prince Two years later, more than 500,000 individuals remain within provisional IDP camps—where they are exposed to a host of health and safety risks Several international officials and human rights advocates reported growing rates of rape and other forms of sexual violence—encouraging significant debate over the rates and risks of sexual violence Can objective and rigorous survey tools help to move policy-makers from debates to solutions? 6

8 Motivation (2/3) 7

9 Motivation (3/3) No prior human rights report systematically examines the rates and risks of sexual violence in these camps 14 percent of survey respondents (n=365) reported at least one victim of rape or unwanted touching within their household in the previous year (Jan 2010 – Jan 2011) There is a strong link with access to basic resources: – Respondents who went at least one day without food in the previous week were more than twice as likely to live with a victim of sexual violence. – Respondents who felt that water and latrine access points were “too far” away from their shelter were nearly three times as likely to live with a victim of sexual violence. 8

10 2. Formation: Rights-Based Approaches 9

11 Formation (1/3) Challenge: Survey respondents may be unfamiliar with legal terms or reluctant to share deeply personal information Rights-Based Approach: Use of international human rights law as the framework for gathering data, understanding responsibilities for violations, and interacting with participants Inductive Indicator Design: Development of context- specific terminology to capture non-rape forms of sexual violence (i.e., “unwanted touching”) Indirect Question Response: Development of questions that allowed the respondent to anonymously identify themselves as the victim (i.e., “you or anyone in your household”) 10

12 Formation (2/3) 82. Since the earthquake, have you or anyone in your household been touched in a way you or they did not want to be touched, not including rape or forced sex? (01) No (02) Yes (98) DK (99) NR Example: 11

13 Formation (3/3) This approach revealed some limitations: – Still underreporting (e.g., males reported more instances of sexual violence) – Few details about the location and circumstances of the incident (e.g., external threats) – Few details about the victim and perpetrator of sexual violence (e.g., domestic violence) An alternative approach: “List experiments” indirectly elicit truthful answers from participants who do not wish to directly respond in a truthful manner (Blaire and Imai 2012) 12

14 3. Implementation: (Semi-)Systematic Designs 13

15 Implementation (1/3) Challenge: It is not always possible to obtain systematic, random samples (e.g., security threats, uncooperative respondents, logistical impediments) Local Research Teams: Reliance on local Haitian researchers for data collection Limited Research Scope: Focus on a small, but diverse number of IDP camps (e.g., with and without camp management agencies) (Semi-) Systematic Approach: Use of a simple counting method to solicit responses in dense and dangerous camp environments 14

16 Implementation (2/3) 15

17 Implementation (3/3) This approach revealed some limitations: – Lack of random sampling may have introduced unknown bias within camps – Conditions in selected camps may not reflect conditions across all camps – Survey length created tension between competing goals: rates, risks, and policy solutions Alternative approaches: – Random assignment of starting points for survey – Focus on specific aspects (e.g., the rate, risks, or policies?) Lessons for researchers: What is the precise advocacy target? What is the resulting scope of research? With limited budgets, sometimes, less is more (e.g., fewer questions, more respondents) 16

18 4. Examination: Quantitative-Qualitative Analyses 17

19 Examination (1/4) Challenge: Survey data may contain inherent biases that result in unrepresentative conclusions Correcting for Imbalances: Creation of balanced samples (e.g., male and female respondents) Accounting for Uncertainty: Use of basic statistical tools (e.g., confidence intervals) Quantitative-Qualitative “Triangulation”: Complementary use of quantitative and qualitative questions to distinguish causality and correlation (i.e., focus group discussions and key informant interviews) 18

20 Examination (2/4) 19

21 Examination (3/4) 20

22 Examination (4/4) This approach revealed some limitations: – Focus on a limited range vulnerability characteristics (e.g., relationship status) – Few specific camp characteristics (e.g., policies on water distribution) An alternative approach: greater integration of quantitative and qualitative methodologies Lessons for researchers: Where are opportunities to ask standardized questions? Where might correlations require qualitative explanations? 21

23 5. Presentation: Community-Oriented Efforts 22

24 Presentation (1/4) Challenge: How can researchers translate specific findings into actionable recommendations—and communicate those findings to a wide range of groups? Community-oriented feedback: meetings with victim support groups, non-governmental leaders, government officials, and international organization officers Clear policy recommendations: focus on access to resources, including access to alternative shelters, greater security at distribution centers, and broader income- generating activities for women. 23

25 Presentation (2/4) (Community feedback session at Terrain de Golf) 24

26 Presentation (3/4) “If the government of Haiti and the international community are serious about relocating people in stable communities, the women suggested, they should place services and economic opportunities in the neighborhoods where people are expected to resettle. And if they are committed to ending sexual violence, then, as our study shows, ensuring access to food, water, and sanitation must be an essential component of any protection strategy—for those inside the camps and in resettled communities.” — Nikki Reisch and Margaret Satterthwaite, Huffington Post 25

27 Presentation (4/4) This approach revealed a clear limitation: balancing cautious statistical terminology and powerful advocacy language There are some alternative approaches: – Parallel reports for different audiences – Additional online appendix for complex explanations – Closer links with members of the local academic, policy, and advocacy communities Lessons for researchers: The importance of reevaluating findings alongside rights stakeholders—and providing tools that meet their explicit needs 26

28 6. Conclusion: Cross-Disciplinary Partnerships 27

29 Surveys hold great promise, but also contain perils The CHRGJ report demonstrates… – A rights-based approach can result in stronger indicators – A quantitative and qualitative synthesis can reinforce core findings and recommendations – A community-oriented survey can undergird sound policy recommendations Should advocates simply take more statistics classes? – Not necessarily… – There is a need for more cross-disciplinary partnerships between advocates and researchers Mixed Methods, Multiple Perspectives 28

30 Thank you 29


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