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Various forms of VAWG

Last edited: July 03, 2013

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  • While much attention has been afforded to the problem of sexual violence--especially rape in conflict--the reality is that women and girls are exposed to many other forms of violence during and following emergencies.   In addition, sub-populations of women and girls—such as those with disabilities, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (LBT) individuals, adolescent girls, and older adult women—may experience heightened vulnerability to certain types of violence.  Any prevention framework must somehow emphasize the importance of assessing vulnerabilities of different populations at different stages of humanitarian emergencies. (See marginalized populations.)


Type of Violence

During conflict/disaster, prior to flight

  • Rape as a tool of war 
  • Sexual attack/exploitation by combatants and community members  
  • Forced prostitution
  • Increased domestic violence
  • Trafficking
  • Female infanticide
  • Early and/or forced marriage

During flight

  • Sexual attack/exploitation by bandits, border guards, military 
  • Trafficking 
  • Forced prostitution

In the country/community of asylum

  • Sexual attack/exploitation by persons in authority including camp representatives, host country officials (i.e. police officers), humanitarian workers, foster care families
  • Domestic violence 
  • Sexual attack when collecting wood, water, etc
  • Early/forced marriage 
  • Trafficking 
  • Sex for survival (ration cards, clothing, etc.)

During repatriation

  • Sexual attack/exploitation of women and girls who have been separated from family
  • Sexual attack/exploitation by persons in power, including government officials and humanitarian workers 
  • Sexual attack/exploitation by bandits, border guards, military

During reintegration, post-conflict/post-disaster

  • Returnees may suffer sexual attack as retribution
  • Trafficking
  • Domestic violence
  • Sexual exploitation

(Adapted from UNFPA, Curriculum Guide for Managing Gender-based Violence Programmes in Humanitarian Settings, 2011)