How gender norms are reinforced through violence against adolescent girls in two conflict-affected populations

Violence against women and girls is a global concern, and particularly salient in humanitarian settings. Successful efforts to prevent gender-based violence in humanitarian settings must address a wide range of issues, from discriminatory laws to explicit community support for violence, and yet, at the core of these efforts is reducing oppressive gender and social norms. Director of the CPC Learning Network Lindsay Stark, CPC faculty affiliate Marni Sommer and colleagues from the International Rescue Committee recently published an article in the Journal of Child Abuse & Neglect examining the effects on local attitudes towards and social norms around responding to physical and sexual abuse of girls in villages in South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudanese and South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopian camps. The findings suggest how communities use violence as a tool to enforce the importance of girls practicing community-defined “good” adolescent girl behavior and have implications for gender-based violence programming among other conflict-affected populations.

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