“When it’s a girl, they have a chance to have sex with them. When it’s a boy...they have been known to rape them”: perceptions of UN peacekeeper-perpetrated sexual exploitation and abuse against women/girls verses men/boys in Haiti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Authors

Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

Peacekeeping missions have been marred by reports of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) against local community members. However, there is limited research on how SEA against women/girls vs. men/boys is perceived in peacekeeping host societies. In 2017 we collected micro-narratives in Haiti and then conducted a thematic analysis to understand how peacekeeper-perpetrated SEA was perceived by local community members comparing SEA against women/girls vs. SEA against men/boys. Both male and female participants used language which suggested the normalization, in Haitian society, of both transactional sex with and rape of women/girls by UN personnel. In contrast, peacekeeper-perpetrated SEA against men/boys was viewed as unacceptable and was associated with homosexuality and related stigmatization. Overall, our results suggest that in Haiti, inequitable gender norms, the commodification of female sexuality, and homophobia result in SEA against males being recognized as a wrong that elicits outrage, while SEA against women/girls has been normalized. It is important to address the normalization of SEA against women/girls to prevent future violence and to recognize that SEA is also perpetrated against men/boys. Survivor-centered programs, sensitive to the needs of both male and female survivors, are required.

Bibliographic note

Final Version of Record not yet available as of 26/08/2021.

Details

Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Global Women’s Health
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 16 Jul 2021

Keywords

  • gender, Haiti, peacekeeping, United Nations, sexual exploitation and abuse, MINUSTAH