Objective We assessed men's and women's experiences of gender based violence and other traumatic events in Côte d'Ivoire, a West African conflict-affected setting, before, during and after a period of active armed conflict (2000–2007).
Design Cross-sectional, household survey.
Setting 12 rural communities directly impacted by the Crisis in Côte d'Ivoire, spanning regions controlled by government forces, rebels and UN peacekeepers in 2008.
Participants 2678 men and women aged 15–49 years.
Primary outcome measures Violence exposures measured since age 15. Questions included intimate partner physical and sexual violence; physical and sexual violence by others (including combatants) and exposure to traumatic events before, during and after the Crisis period (2000–2007).
Results Physical and/or sexual violence since age 15 was reported by 57.1% women and 40.2% men (p=0.01); 29.9% women and 12.3% men reported exposure to any violence in the past year. Nearly 1 in 10 women (9.9%) and 5.9% men (p=0.03) were forced to have sex by a non-partner since age 15, and 14.8% women and 3.3% men (p=0.00) reported their first sexual experience was forced. Combatants were rarely reported as sexual violence perpetrators (0.3% women). After the Crisis, intimate partner physical violence was the most frequently reported form of violence and highest among women (20.9% women, 9.9% men, p=0.00). Fearing for their life was reported by men and women before, during and after the Crisis.
Conclusions Sexual violence in conflict remains a critical international policy concern. However, men and women experience different types of violence before, during and after conflict. In many conflict settings, other forms of violence, including intimate partner violence, may be more widespread than conflict-related sexual violence. Alongside service provision for rape survivors, our findings underscore the need for postconflict reconstruction efforts to invest in programmes to prevent and respond to intimate partner violence and trauma.
- Armed conflict
- Intimate Partner Violence
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