Language of sexual violence in Haiti: perceptions of victims, community-level workers, and health care providers.J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2014 Nov; 25(4):1623-40.JH
Non-partner sexual violence (NPSV), an important risk factor for HIV, is of global public health significance and understudied. The 2010 earthquake interacted syndemically with structural factors to increase sexual violence and HIV risk for women in Cité Soleil, Haiti. We used an exploratory sequential qualitative design and Grounded Theory to investigate language/terminology for NPSV, victims and perpetrators, and health effects of NPSV on victims, in four focus groups: Health care providers (HCPs) (n=3; n=8), community advocates (n=8), and victims (n=8). Crucial differences exist among stakeholders: HCPs prefer French and possess different explanatory models of illness from victims, who provided more extensive and explicit descriptions (e.g., “strangled like a chicken,” “tuyo”/“faucet”/“flooding” for gang rapes). Victims also reported purposeful injury to their external and internal genitalia, signaling STI/HIV risk. Reconciling within-culture differences between victims and HCPs can inform screening, diagnosis, treatment, follow-up and delivery of relevant interventions.