Thursday, December 20, 2018

What Does the Violence Against Women Act Have to Do with Climate Change?

Hurricane Harvey Impact, Houston TX (Credit: Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Click to Enlarge.
As the world heats up, it’s also becoming more violent.  There’s been a lot of research linking climate change to war, violent crime, and even road rage.  But you may not have heard that climate disasters like hurricanes Harvey and Michael were accompanied by a surge in intimate partner violence, or IPV.  (The term is favored over “domestic violence” for encompassing different relationships and genders.)

Hurricanes often lead to displacement and isolation, which makes people more vulnerable to IPV.  And climate change in general disproportionately impacts those who are already more likely to experience IPV:  low-income women, women of color, and women experiencing homelessness.

To compound the problem, resources to address IPV are limited after climate disasters, when more people tend to need them.  In the year following Hurricane Harvey, the number of women who sought help at a Houston-based crisis center doubled, as Yessenia Funes writes in Earther.  Shelters are sometimes forced to close their doors in the wake of disasters.  After Hurricane Florence, a domestic violence shelter in Wilmington with 19 beds was left in shambles.

Read more at What Does the Violence Against Women Act Have to Do with Climate Change?

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