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.