Disasters like earthquakes, floods and drought disproportionately affect women. More women die during and shortly after natural disasters than men on average, with up to four times more women killed in the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami. Research shows this happens for a number of reasons.
For example, women are not as likely to know how to swim or climb their way to safety when a disaster strikes. Women typically have less money saved and lower education, therefore after a crisis, may have difficulty or greater challenges in recovering economically from these shocks.
In situations of displacement, assaults and sexual violence can become a significant problem. In cramped camp settings where there is inadequate shelter, lack of privacy and weak police presence, women and girls are vulnerable to violence.
Toilet facilities are often shared between men and women, and if there is poor lighting or a long walk to access water, attacks may occur. In many countries women remain silent after experiencing violence, as it might not be culturally acceptable to report such crimes.
Violence can result in significant physical injuries and even increase the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases like HIV, but the emotional and psychological consequences are also far-reaching. World Vision responds to this through awareness-raising initiatives, challenging gender stereotypes and involving men in the campaign against violence. We encourage women to speak out against violence and advocate governments for improved protections for women and girls who suffer violence.