Measuring the Incidence and Reporting of Violence against Women and Girls in Liberia
This article, published in Conflict and Health, reports on the use of a “neighborhood method” to measure the nature and incidence of violence against women and girls in post-conflict Liberia. The study population comprised females in Montserrado and Nimba counties. Study participants were randomly selected for interviews using multi-stage cluster sampling. 30 clusters of households were sampled in each county. Information on incidents of domestic violence and rape within the preceding 18 months was collected with regard to females of all ages in the respondent’s household, and those of her four closest neighbors to make up the full sample. In the previous 18 months 54.1% (CI 53.1-55.1) and 55.8% (CI 54.8-56.8) of females in Montserrado and Nimba respectively were indicated to have experienced non-sexual domestic abuse; 19.4% (CI 18.6-20.2) and 26.0% (CI 25.1-26.9) of females in Montserrado and Nimba respectively to have been raped outside of marriage; and 72.3% (CI 70.7-73.9) and 73.8% (CI 72.0-75.7) of married or separated women in Montserrado and Nimba respectively to have experienced marital rape. Husbands and boyfriends were reported as the perpetrators of the vast majority of reported violence. Strangers were reported to account for less than 2% of the perpetrators of rape in either county. Incidents were most commonly disclosed to other family members or to friends and neighbors, and less often to formal authorities such as the police, court or community leaders. Programming needs to address the fact that this violence is primarily occurring in the household, where most incidents go unreported outside the immediate family or social circle.
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