Syrian Women & Girls: Fleeing death, facing ongoing threats and humiliation
This Gender-based Violence Rapid Assessment conducted by International Rescue Committee in 2012 focuses on risks and violence faced by women and girls among the Syrian refugee population within Lebanon. The assessment methodology utilized a selection of primary data collection tools, including focus group discussions, key informant interviews, and safety audits in the North and Bekaa governorates of Lebanon. It was based on the prioritization of accessing and understanding ‘big picture’ issues: focusing on more qualitative ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions, rather than quantitative/statistical data around GBV incidence among the Syrian population. Syrian women and girls coming to Lebanon were found at increased risk of multiple forms of violence due to generalized insecurity, living in unplanned and overcrowded refugee settlements with minimal privacy and compromised safety, and limited access to support heightened by minimal coordination and lack of adherence to international standards of humanitarian assistance, in addition to fear of discrimination and mistreatment by service providers. Focus groups identified rape and sexual violence as main forms of GBV faced by Syrian women and girls, as well as intimate partner violence, early marriage and survival sex. Key informants reported that survivors are reluctant to report GBV due to restrictive cultural values and stigma, adding that very few services specifically designed for survivors of GBV are in place. The report ends on recommendations by IRC to improve access to and quality of services and support to Syrian women and girl refugees, as well as developing and adapting GBV coordination structures.