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Intimate Partner Violence and Civic Education in Liberia: A Mixed-Methods Study of Service-Seeking Behavior and Civic Knowledge in Two Monrovia Settlements

Bernstein, Erin Elizabeth (2013)
Master's Thesis (95 pages)
Committee Chair / Thesis Adviser: Stephenson, Robert
Committee Members: Scully, Pamela F ; Tomczyk, Basia (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention);
Research Fields: Health Sciences, Public Health; Gender Studies; Sociology, Social Structure and Development
Partnering Agencies: CDC ; International Non-governmental organization (e.g., CARE, Inc.) ; Emory University schools, faculty or affiliated programs
Keywords: intimate partner violence; civic education; civic knowledge; IPV services; sexual and gender-based violence; domestic violence; women's rights; Liberia
Program: Rollins School of Public Health, Hubert Department of Global Health
Permanent url: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/d96v3

Abstract

Background

Challenges to implementing effective intimate partner violence (IPV) prevention strategies in post-war environments include displacement, damaged economies, and shifting gender roles. Liberia offered minimal IPV services before the war (1989-1996, 1999-2003). Ten years into post-war recovery, Liberia has instituted one of the first national action plans to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. Despite these advances, IPV remains highly prevalent and little is known about the overlap between people's knowledge of the law and whether and how they access IPV services.

Purpose

The study examined perceptions and accessibility of civic education and services following IPV in West Point and Peace Island, two urban settlements in Monrovia.It seeks to: 1) to determine community members' civic knowledge and trusted civic education sources, and 2) to document preferences in IPV services, perceptions of such services, and barriers to access.

Methods

We conducted eight structured focus group discussions (FGDs) (West Point: n=32; Peace Island: n=40) to determine available and preferred post-IPV services, service accessibility, civic knowledge, and sources of civic education. We also conducted five in-depth interviews and one FGD with purposively selected service providers to determine lessons learned for IPV prevention. Grounded theory guided qualitative data analysis on effective violence prevention mechanisms and perceptions of service accessibility and rights-based programming. A cross-sectional, three-stage, random cluster survey (West Point: n=212; Peace Island: n=183) assessed dispute prevalence, civic knowledge, trusted civic education sources, and services needed to reassert one's role in the community following IPV.

Results

Disparities in how information links to services may depend on who generates and disseminates information and/or provides services. Differences in men's and women's acceptance of messages and interventions also emerged, illustrating that gender considerations also shape people's interaction with services and rights-based initiatives.

Conclusion

Organizations working at the community level should disseminate rights-based and IPV messaging through trusted sources of knowledge and utilize actors in the community as agents of civic education. In addition, integrating information on IPV services with civic education in Liberia could enhance the policies' relevance to nongovernmental services and adequate support of governmental services.


Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION 1
Background and Rationale 1
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Liberia 1

Intimate Partner Violence in Post-War Settings 2

Policy in Liberia 4
Problem Statement 5
Purpose Statement 5
Objectives 5
Research Questions 6
Contribution of Research 6
Definition of Terms 7
LITERATURE REVIEW 8
Introduction 8
Nongovernmental and Community-Based IPV Interventions 8
Community Education and Awareness 9

Economic Interventions 10

Engaging Men and Boys 12

Traditional Mechanisms 15

Governmental Approaches 16
Legal Infrastructure 16

Civic Education: Diffusion and Uptake 18

Summary 20
METHODOLOGY 21
Introduction 21
Study Setting 21
Study Population Sample 22
Research Design and Procedures 23
Qualitative 23
Quantitative 24
Data Analysis 27
Ethical Approval 28
RESULTS 29
Danger and Security 29
Service-Seeking Behavior 30
Service Accessibility 33
Trust 34
Perceptions of Rights-Based Programming 37
Reducing/Preventing Intimate Partner Violence 38
Civic Education 42
Civic Knowledge 47
DISCUSSION, CONCLUSION, AND RECOMMENDATIONS 49
Discussion 49
Macro vs. Micro Approaches 49
Gendered Perspectives 52
Limitations 53
Recommendations 54
The Carter Center 54
General 57
Conclusion 58

REFERENCES 60
MANUSCRIPT 67
APPENDIX A: IRB NOTICE 74
APPENDIX B: FOCUS GROUP DISCUSSION GUIDES 75
APPENDIX C: IN-DEPTH INTERVIEW GUIDE 82
APPENDIX D: ENUMERATION MAPS 84

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