A Better Toilet

For A Cleaner World

Improving access to public toilets in South African urban settlements may reduce both overall cost and the incidence of sexual assaults in society.

by | May 19, 2015 | 0 comments

Sexual violence is endemic throughout the developed and developing world. Recent research work models data from 1 township in South Africa illustrates how improving access to sanitation facilities in urban informal settlements can simultaneously reduce both the number of sexual assaults and the overall cost to society.

Improving access to public toilets in South African urban settlements may reduce both the incidence of sexual assaults by nearly 30% and the overall cost to society, a study by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health and Yale School of Management found. The research was published April 29 in PLOS ONE.

Rights-based and development organizations have increasingly been calling attention to the fact that inadequate local sanitation facilities are a key factor in a woman’s risk for physical or sexual assault. Many women in South Africa must travel out of their homes to public toilets, where they are more vulnerable to attack from sexual predators. This research from South Africa has global implications, as such links between inadequate sanitation and sexual violence have been noted in incidents in many regions, refugee camps, as well as in urban and rural settings.

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