Story at a glance
- Extreme weather events resulting from climate change can lead to an increase in gender-based violence.
- These weather events can erode critical infrastructure while exacerbating economic hardships, which can lead to violent and criminal behavior.
- “Sexual and gender minorities face specific and increased risks of gender-based violence, which are important to consider in gender-based violence policies, interventions and services,” the study’s lead author said.
Extreme weather events resulting from climate change can lead to an increase in gender-based violence, according to a recent study.
“The review is quite consistent with what we know about disasters,” said Susan Cutter, director of the Hazards Vulnerability and Resilience Institute at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, who was not involved in the study. “Any kind of disaster, whether it is climate-related or not, disproportionately impacts the most vulnerable.”
These weather events can erode critical infrastructure while exacerbating economic hardships, which can lead to violent and criminal behavior, the researchers said.
The research focused on a final sample of 41 studies from 10 databases that focused on gender-based violence and their relation to natural disasters. Researchers found that extreme weather events were linked to various forms of domestic abuse ranging from physical and sexual assault to trafficking and forced marriage.
The team, led by Kim van Daalen, who studies global public health at the University of Cambridge, cited 21st century disasters like Hurricane Katrina to highlight backlash against the LGBTQ+ community.
“Sexual and gender minorities face specific and increased risks of gender-based violence, which are important to consider in gender-based violence policies, interventions and services,” van Daalen said.
Van Daalen added that this review differed from previous studies because it included people from sexual and gender minorities who “are often neglected within research on gender-based violence.”
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Researchers acknowledged that the study carried an English language bias, but they said it is still important as it moved away from previous research that focused on social unrest brought on by weather disasters.
“This review focuses on what happens at the micro-level. As gender violence affects millions of women and gender minorities around the world, it is really crucial to talk about violence at a smaller scale,” said Tobias Ide, who studies politics and international relations at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia.
“The causes for each of these problems differ greatly, and each one needs specific interventions,” he said.
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