Gender-Based Violence in Disasters: An Action Research Agenda

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 8:30 AM
Room: 501
Oral Presentation
Elaine ENARSON , Independent Scholar, Boulder, CO
Does gender-based violence increase after disasters? While the question is still asked, international studies have documented this social fact while taking into account significant contextual differences and measurement challenges. This essential baseline research supports the new global planning resources now available in the “good practice” tool kit of contemporary humanitarian relief work. Some proactive training, preparedness, and mitigation steps are also apparent from service providers, feminist activists, and anti-violence advocates, generally in response to specific disaster events.

Based on the author’s prior research and on critical review of English-language work in the field, this presentation will synthesize and challenge the main international lines of research, analysis, and action to date. Four specific issues will be considered, each grounded in the assumption that gender-based violence can and must be prevented in disaster contexts: (1) the distinguishing features of gender-based violence in disaster contexts; (2) persistent gaps in evidence and analysis; (3) research designs supportive of the most pressing research questions; and (4) prospects for using our expanding knowledge in this area to better protect fundamental human rights in disasters.

The presentation will also situate the Japanese experience in broader context, and potentially help launch a proposed international research collaborative for understanding and addressing gender-based violence in disasters.