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Climate Change is Leading to More Gender-based Violence Including Sexual Assault

News18.com

Last Updated: January 30, 2020, 16:37 IST

(Illustration by Mir Suhail/News18.com)

(Illustration by Mir Suhail/News18.com)

The study reveals that such power struggle often target and endanger the voices of female environment and human rights activists, who attempt to defend women rights, lands and natural resources.

Depleting environmental conditions have fueled a worldwide gender-based violence, as resource scarcity is exacerbating the existing cruelty against women and children.

A recent study by the International Union for Conservation of Nature states that, "the degradation of nature can lead to gender-based violence including sexual assault, domestic violence and forced prostitution."

The study has drawn its data from over 1000 sources including countries and other extensive data and attempts to establish that competition over limited resources is becoming a primary reason to indulge in a power struggle.

In an example of how men in power (which is mostly the scenario around the world) are using this as a means to exploit women, the report cited that few countries in south and east Africa are running the practice of 'sex-for-fish', where fishermen are demanding that women have sexual intercourse with them in exchange for fish.

Also as limited resources are growing scarcer, often girls and women have to invest more labor in looking for fire-wood, fuel, and walk long miles to draw water and all of these make them more susceptible to sexual abuse.

The report has stated more such similar incidents, where children and women are also used for banned forest activities, such as poaching and illegal extraction of resources.

Such establishment of rights and power over environment by a privileged class has led to human trafficking of children and women to practice illegal mining in south American counties, engage in illegal fishing industry in south-east Asia and unlawful charcoal trading in south Africa.

Quoting the study, CNN described how droughts in several countries have also showed the exercise of increased gender violence. "In Uganda, due to the failure of income crops caused by prolonged dry seasons, men were prompted to try to sell the crops grown by women for household consumption. Tensions led to men beating their wives to exercise control over the land, while there were also cases in which women beat men."

The study also reveals that such power struggle often target and endanger the voices of female environment and human rights activists, who attempt to defend women rights, lands and natural resources.

In a statement, the report stated, "While violence against environmental activists is on the rise overall, women activists in particular seem to be experiencing growing levels of gender-specific violence aimed at suppressing their power, undermining their credibility and status within the community, and discouraging other women from coming forward."

The study has been done as part of a 10-year study on gender issue funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).