Thursday, May 7, 2009

DV Skyrockets Among Poorest Katrina Evacuees

Women living in emergency trailer parks in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina were three times more likely to become victims of domestic or sexual violence than they were prior to the storm, according to a new study published by the American Medical Association.

Dr. Lynn Lawry, the lead author of the report published Monday in the journal Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, said the level of violence found in the survey is comparable to similar studies performed in camps for displaced people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and other war-torn countries.

The study, conducted from 2006 to 2007, surveyed 420 women in Federal Emergency Management Agency trailer parks around the state. The per capita incidents of violence against women - both sexual and physical - is similar to what Lawry, who works on health and humanitarian issues for the Defense Department, found in camps in Darfur region of Sudan in 2005.

The stresses of the disaster, job losses and tight quarters, combined with an increased use of alcohol and drugs are believed to be the culprit, she said. As we have discussed previously, these conditions are known to make abusers feel out of control. In order to regain their sense of control, they seek to dominate those closest to them, often their spouses, partners, and children.

1 comment:

Cindy Sue Causey said...

Speaking firsthand (and hopefully the point intended comes thru)..

What I remember of total wipeout by Hurricane Andrew, one of the greater things that happens is that vulnerable, already browbeaten persons can be and are doubly worked over by any number of other persons beyond one's significant other in a disaster's aftermath.. It becomes an animalistic feast of survival of the fittest and goodness help those others know are or who can be perceived as vulnerable.

At a loss for just the right words, but...

It's not just that the SO's violence increases over and above due to the unbelievable stress and survival strategizing that disaster brings to all in an affected area..

DV victims are already at a disadvantage with respect to disaster recovery because their otherwise [Life-preserving] defenses have been so (verbally or otherwise) beaten into submission pre-disaster..

At that point, we're not just talking about storm-related PTSD for victims of DV along with the [catatonic] state that can already carry with.. We're now talking about PTSD on top of PTSD on top of for who knows what all other circumstances previous..

Because of the compound nature of things, any hope, any wherewithal someone might have had to escape, say, DV is effectively annihilated in the face of disaster.. For those experiencing violence newly due to disaster, again self-protective defensives are depleted due to the disaster itself, leaving them much more vulnerable to this type of behavior.

Warmest from Talking Rock...