Limited research following disasters suggests that internally displaced women are disproportionately vulnerable to violence and abuse. An interdisciplinary collaborative of researchers and practitioners in Haiti, the US Virgin Islands, and the US Mainland investigated gender-based violence (GBV) pre- and post-earthquake and health outcomes among Haitian women living in tent cities/camps following the 2010 earthquake.
A comparative descriptive correlational design using culturally sensitive and language appropriate computer-assisted interviews of 208 internally displaced women 2011-2013.
Found high rates of violence and abuse both before (71.2 %) and after (75 %) p = 0.266, the earthquake primarily perpetrated by boy friends or husbands. Significantly more mental and physical health problems were reported by abused than non-abused women. The majority (60-78 %) of abused women did not report personal or community tolerance for violence and abuse, but acknowledged a community context of limited involvement.
Coordinated planning and implementation of needed interventions are essential to provide a balanced approach to the care of displaced women after natural disasters with sensitivity to the abusive experiences of many women both before and after the disasters.