Gender Based Violence in the Gaza Strip After Israeli Operation 'Protective Edge’
Gender-based violence (GBV) is prevalent among, though not specific to, conflict affected populations and related to multifarious levels of vulnerability of conflict and displacement. Gaza has been marked with decades of conflict. The most recent war on Gaza took place in July 2014; and the 50 day long bombardment killed over 2000 people and resulted in many injuries and wide scale damage to private and public infrastructure and properties. About 28 per cent of the population has been estimated to be internally displaced as a direct consequence of the military operation.
GBV can lead to severe physical, reproductive, and mental health consequences. While these health outcomes also occur in non-conflict settings, they may be exacerbated in conflict settings by a lack of access to or improper medical care, concurrent infectious disease, malnutrition, stress, and other psychosocial problems. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable to GBV during outbursts of violence through the separation of families, disruption of community and institutional protection, service structures, and increased obstacles to access to justice for survivors amongst others. Furthermore, for a number of other reasons, including shame, stigma, low awareness of or access to services, and lack of protection, vulnerable security and justice system and impunity, GBV is often under-reported and available services under-utilised.
The proposed research attempts to contribute to our knowledge of violence against women (VAW) incidence and prevalence as well as responses, coping strategies and mechanisms of support in the five governorates in Gaza 2015. The aim of the study is to inform the design of better and effective programmatic responses for ActionAid and Alianza por la Solidaridad (Alianza) as well as other agencies. Understanding the interactions and impact of active violent conflict on VAW in a fragile situation that is prone to (sporadic) outbursts of larger levels of violence is paramount to help to draw meaningful, practical recommendations to counter VAW, which is a complex task, even in peaceful environments.
In line with the research objective, the research will investigate:
- Types of violence commonly experienced by women in public and private spheres of life in Gaza;
- Incidence, prevalence, causes and consequences of VAW in public and private spheres in Gaza;
- Existing avenues of support to survivors of VAW in Gaza;
- Challenges women face when trying to reach out for help at the different levels in Gaza;
- The link between VAW and military violence in Gaza;
- The potential for service provision to support survivors of VAW in Gaza;
- The potential to tackle attitudes and trigger behavioural changes in order to decrease VAW in Gaza.