To describe the physical, psychological and sexual violence among internally displaced adolescent girls following the 2010 Haiti earthquake and related risk factors, health concerns and cultural norms.
Thousands of adolescents were displaced following the earthquake, leaving them vulnerable to abuse and violence. Displaced survivors are disproportionately vulnerable to violence after natural and man-made disasters.
A descriptive-correlational design was used to: (1) describe the extent of violence, health risks and concerns in the displaced adolescent girls; and (2) identify correlations in the strength and magnitude of relationships between selected variables including demographics, risk factors and cultural tolerance of violence.
Data were collected from participants using computer-assisted self-interviews between 2011-2013 including demographics, pre- and post-earthquake violence, perpetrators, risk factors and health consequences. Analysis included frequency, logistic regression and multiple regression.
A majority reported physical, psychological, or sexual abuse both pre- (59%) and post- (64.1%) earthquake. Pre-earthquake, abused adolescents reported the perpetrator as a boyfriend (50%) or family member (30%). Post-earthquake, 20.5% of physical abuse perpetrators were family members. Pre- and post-earthquake physical and sexual abuse did not change. The risk of being sexually abused post-earthquake increased after controlling for age and education.
Displaced adolescent girls reported similar rates of physical and sexual abuse pre- and post-earthquake. These findings show the importance of preventive policies for adolescent girls in disaster situations in countries with low resources. Social and cultural change is critically needed since abuse was at an unacceptably high rate prior to the earthquake.