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01.12.2014 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

Conflict and Health 1/2014

Need for a gender-sensitive human security framework: results of a quantitative study of human security and sexual violence in Djohong District, Cameroon

Conflict and Health > Ausgabe 1/2014
Parveen Kaur Parmar, Pooja Agrawal, Ravi Goyal, Jennifer Scott, P Gregg Greenough
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1752-1505-8-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors have no competing interests to declare.

Authors’ contributions

PKP was involved in study design, data acquisition and analysis of data, and primarily drafted the manuscript. PA was involved in field data acquisition, analysis of data, and manuscript preparation. JS was involved in analysis of data and manuscript preparation. RG directed statistical analysis of data and was involved in manuscript preparation. PGG was involved in study design, analysis of data, and manuscript preparation. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Human security shifts traditional concepts of security from interstate conflict and the absence of war to the security of the individual. Broad definitions of human security include livelihoods and food security, health, psychosocial well-being, enjoyment of civil and political rights and freedom from oppression, and personal safety, in addition to absence of conflict.


In March 2010, we undertook a population-based health and livelihood study of female refugees from conflict-affected Central African Republic living in Djohong District, Cameroon and their female counterparts within the Cameroonian host community. Embedded within the survey instrument were indicators of human security derived from the Leaning-Arie model that defined three domains of psychosocial stability suggesting individuals and communities are most stable when their core attachments to home, community and the future are intact.


While the female refugee human security outcomes describe a population successfully assimilated and thriving in their new environments based on these three domains, the ability of human security indicators to predict the presence or absence of lifetime and six-month sexual violence was inadequate. Using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis, the study demonstrates that common human security indicators do not uncover either lifetime or recent prevalence of sexual violence.


These data suggest that current gender-blind approaches of describing human security are missing serious threats to the safety of one half of the population and that efforts to develop robust human security indicators should include those that specifically measure violence against women.
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