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Displacement and forced sex: Haiti’s experience since the 2010 earthquake Nicholas Thomas, MPH, PhD candidate Department of Global Health Systems and Development,

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Presentation on theme: "Displacement and forced sex: Haiti’s experience since the 2010 earthquake Nicholas Thomas, MPH, PhD candidate Department of Global Health Systems and Development,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Displacement and forced sex: Haiti’s experience since the 2010 earthquake Nicholas Thomas, MPH, PhD candidate Department of Global Health Systems and Development, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University Discussion These findings support the theory that, when controlling for other important factors, displacement is associated with an increased likelihood of experiencing sexual assault. Even when controlling for inequitable gender norms and violence acceptability within the community, the effect of the act of displacement alone is still significant. The reason for this is likely complicated, due to gaps in the infrastructure such as little access to healthcare services and limited police presence. The results support the need for more investment in protection and prevention programs for displaced women to protect their rights. In particular, VAW should be a consideration in disaster response strategic planning for all actors. Younger and poorer women are of particular concern due to their higher odds of experiencing forced sex. It is very likely that these results can be generalizable to other emergency contexts, particularly among populations displaced due to natural disaster. This research points out the need for further investigation into the unique needs of displaced populations. Introduction Violence against women (VAW) is a public health concern due to the associated elevation in risk for poor physical, mental, and reproductive outcomes. Displaced women are regarded as at higher risk of experiencing sexual assault than other populations, though there is little evidence thus far supporting this hypothesis due to the difficulty in gathering data among dispersed communities. According to the 2012 Haitian DHS, 34.5% of women interviewed reported experiencing forced sexual acts since the 2010 earthquake displaced a large proportion of the country Objectives This study analyzes whether sexual assault incidence is significantly higher among Haitian women displaced to camps after the 2010 earthquake than women who were not. We controlled for other important demographic and cultural factors which likely increased risk of experiencing forced sex. Data and Methods The data were derived from the 2012 Haiti Demographic and Health Survey. The survey was implemented on a nationally-representative sample of over 14,000 households and used a stratified two-stage cluster sampling design. Face- to-face interviews were conducted with women aged 15-49 years in sample households. Logit regression was performed to analyze the association between displacement and experience of sexual assault. The primary outcome variable of interest was a binary yes/no measure of self- reported experience of forced sex since the 2010 earthquake. The independent variable was a binary self report of displacement after the earthquake. Demographic factors such as wealth, age marital status, education, and employment were controlled for in the model. In addition, behaviors (husband decision making and wife beating acceptability) aggregated at the cluster level were included in order to control for perceived community norms around violence and gender roles. The analysis was based on a subsample of 460 women who were selected to answer questions about experience of forced sex after the earthquake. Endogeneity was tested using instrumental variables and rejected. Results In the bivariate analysis, women who experienced displacement had a higher rate of experienced post-earthquake sexual assault with a 46% prevalence compared to 30% among non- displaced. Women 15-19 were most likely to experience sexual assault with around 60% of women in that group reporting experiencing forced sex. The prevalence declined as age increased. Women who experienced sexual assault after the earthquake were 3.4 times more likely to have lived in displacement camps than not (95% CI: 1.41, 0.8.12). Women who experienced sexual assault were also three times less likely to be widowed divorced or separated (0.32, 95% CI: 0.08, 1.24) than never married. Women who reported experiencing sexual assault were also less likely to have completed a secondary education (0.23, 95% CI: 0.41,1.28) or be in the richest wealth quintile (0.23 CI: 0.07,0.68). Age was significant in almost all five year groups, with 15-19 year olds being the most likely age group for survivors of sexual assault. Results 1: Experience of forced sex and displacement due to the 2010 Haiti earthquake Results 2: Experience of forced sex and age, grouped into 5 year cohorts Results 3: Odds ratios from Logit regression model * p<0.1 **p<0.05 ***p<0.01 Department of Global Health Systems and Development VariableORCI Displacement after quake NoRef Yes3.38**(1.41,8.12) Wealth quintilePoorestRef Poorer0.52(0.22,1.25) Middle0.86(0.39,1.93) Richer0.42(0.15,1.20) Richest0.23***(0.07,0.68) Age group in years15-19Ref 20-240.4**(0.19,0.83) 25-290.23***(0.10,0.54) 30-340.24(0.06,1.03) 35-390.11**(0.02,0.58) 40-440.12***(0.03,0.58) 45-490.1***(0.02,0.51) Husband dominates decision-making (community index score) 0.98(0.38,2.57) Wife-beating is justified (community index score) 0.44*(0.162,1.18) Type of place of residence UrbanRef Rural1.04(0.47,2.27) Marital statusNever marriedRef Married0.46(0.17,1.28) Living with partner0.53(0.19,1.50) Widowed/ divorced/ separated 0.32*(0.08,1.24) Has childNoRef Yes1.04(0.43,2.49) Educational level No schooling or incomplete primary Ref Primary education, did not complete secondary 0.86(0.44,1.67) Secondary education or higher 0.23*(0.41,1.28) Drinks alcoholNoRef Yes1.29(0.68,2.46) EmployedNoRef Yes1.12(0.57,2.18)


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