Centre for Public Health

Liverpool John Moores University

Public Health Institute - Liverpool John Moores University

World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Violence Prevention

Part of the Liverpool John Moores University

Responses to violence against women in Post-Earthquake Nepal Lessons from the Field – Dr Kay Standing and Dr Sara Parker

Since the devastating earthquakes in Nepal in April and May 2015 the role of women’s groups and female leaders in community based networks, have been central in challenging violence against women and girls. Studies show that sexual violence increases dramatically after natural disasters (Chew & Ramdas, 2005) and reports indicate that the trafficking of women and girls in Nepal has increased since the earthquake, and women and girls  in camps and temporary shelters feel threatened and insecure due to the risk of violence and lack of privacy (WOREC, 2015).  However, reports from Nepal show that having local women activists on the ground in humanitarian aid, health care and as the first response to disasters means violence against women and girls (VAWG) can be challenged and safe spaces for women and girls established.  Based in interviews with grassroots women’s activists in Nepal, and case studies of organisations working to challenge VAWG in the aftermath of the earthquake, the article will suggest ways in which development and humanitarian workers can learn from the experiences of grassroots women activists to build knowledge of what works to challenge and minimise VAWG in emergency situations.