Peril or Protection: The Link Between Livelihoods and Gender-based Violence in Displacement Settings

This research report covers the findings of three Women's Refugee Commission field assessments to Egypt, Malaysia and Ethiopia coupled with the learning from a funded pilot project in Burundi as well as desk research and expert interviews. Key findings conclude that without economic opportunities, women resort to dangerous and desperate measures to provide for themselves and their families, often heightening their risk of sexual exploitation and abuse. However, when economic opportunities are provided without built-in protective elements, an increase in sexual violence outside the home and heightened domestic violence within the home often ensue. Violence against women has reached epidemic proportions and in many conflict and displacement settings, women submit to sexual abuse in order to obtain food and other basic life necessities. Violence against women by husbands or partners is reportedly common in refugee and internally displaced camps. This report aims at determining whether programmes set up to provide women with safe, alternative livelihoods do in fact reduce their risk of exposure to violence.

Published 2010-05-17