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Tue Feb 25, 2020, 10:42 AM

Climate Change Leads To More Violence Against Women: Rape, Assault, Forced Marriage

- 'Climate change leads to more violence against women, girls,' DW, Feb. 25, 2020.

Rape, domestic violence, forced marriages: A new study shows the effects of climate change are leading to an increase in violence against girls and women in many corners of the world. Ntoya Sande was 13 years old when she got married against her will. "I was sent to be married because of a shortage of food in the house," she said. Her parents used to have a small piece of land, but floods wiped out their harvest. "I tried to negotiate, to tell my parents that I wasn't ready, that I didn't want to get married, but they told me that I had to because that would mean one mouth less at the table."

Sande lives in Malawi's Nsanje province. Her story is one of thousands of cases highlighted in a recent study from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Two years in the making, the report is the largest and most comprehensive study to date on the effects of climate change and environmental degradation on gender-based violence. "This study shows us that the damage humanity is inflicting on nature can also fuel violence against women around the world a link that has so far been largely overlooked," said Grethel Aguilar, IUCN's acting director general. "This study adds to the urgency of halting environmental degradation alongside action to stop gender-based violence in all its forms, and demonstrates that the two issues often need to be addressed together."



- In Bangladesh many women prefer to ride out natural disasters at home rather than in an emergency shelter.


- Child marriages as 'survival strategy': Malawi isn't the only place where minors are being married against their will to help their families survive climate disasters. According to the study, girls in Ethiopia and South Sudan are also being sold off in marriage during extreme droughts, in exchange for cattle. Juliane Schmucker, the regional director for Asia at humanitarian organization Plan International, said the rate of child and forced marriages demonstrably increases in crisis situations. "It's simply a survival strategy: to get rid of a daughter to relieve the pressure on the family, or it's the only way to generate income," she told DW.

Growing resource scarcity also increases the risk that women and girls will be victims of violence. With increasing drought and desertification in the global south, more and more water sources and wells are drying up. Fetching water is often a woman's job, and if they're forced to walk farther for that water the risk of sexual assault also increases, especially in regions characterized by armed gangs.
- Sex for fish: Women living on many of Africa's coasts and lakes have also suffered as fish have become scarcer. Fishermen peddling their wares are now not only expecting money as payment they're also demanding sex. According to the IUCN study, this practice is now so common in western Kenya that it has a name: the Jaboya system...

More, https://www.dw.com/en/women-climate-change-sexual-violence-iucn/a-52449269


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