The nexus between extreme weather events, sexual violence, and early marriage: a study of vulnerable populations in Bangladesh
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This study aims to explore whether a relationship exists between extreme weather events, sexual violence, and early marriage. We selected two districts in Bangladesh that are vulnerable to extreme weather events: Sunamganj, which experiences flash flooding, and Brahmanbaria, which experiences cyclones and related floods. Survey data was collected from 120 randomly selected household heads from two villages in these districts, and in-depth interviews were conducted with 40 household heads who indicated early marriage was a coping strategy for managing effects of weather events. The mixed-methods study finds that early marriage of daughters is a coping strategy for managing two negative consequences of extreme weather events. First, by minimizing household expenses, householders can pay for damage-related expenses. Second, unmarried daughters may be subject to sexual violence during a crisis, especially in temporary shelters, which would harm both the family’s and daughter’s reputation and prevent future marriage.
KeywordsBangladesh Early marriage Extreme weather events Poverty Sexual violence Vulnerable areas
We would like to express our deepest gratitude to the Editor of Population and Environment for her insightful suggestions and also thank the three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript. We also would like to express our heartiest thanks to the respondents who provided valuable information and helped us during fieldwork. We are also grateful to Professor Jean-Philippe Platteau (Emeritus, University of Namur, Belgium) who helped to articulate the research idea at its initial stage during the Global Development Network (GDN) workshop in 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey.
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