Across the globe, 4 billion people live in poverty. But, money woes aren’t necessarily their chief concern.
It’s figuring out how to escape the violence that threatens their lives.
In his new book "The Locust Effect," Gary A. Haugen, founder of the International Justice Mission (IJM), explores his theory that eradicating poverty goes hand-in-hand with wiping out violence.
"It’s not that violence is the only problem -- or more important than, say, issues of hunger or disease or unemployment," Haugen told the Daily Beast. "It’s just that we’ll be substantially disappointed in our ability to empower poor people over the long-term if we underestimate the capacity for someone to hurt or steal from them."
In his interview, Haugen talked about how women and girls are disproportionately affected by violence. He said that they can’t possibly climb out of poverty if they fear getting attacked on their way to school, and they can’t concentrate on their studies if they are consumed by the trauma they have faced.
Sexual assaults are an increasing concern for women worldwide.
In the first global study of the issue, researchers found that one woman in 14 has been sexually assaulted by someone other than her partner, Agence France-Presse reported earlier this month.
"Our findings indicate a pressing health and human rights concern," the researchers said.
To hammer home just how overwhelming assaults are for impoverished people, the International Justice Mission released a haunting video to accompany Haugen’s book. In the video, the violence a girl faces in each step of her everyday routine is as smothering as the locusts she can’t escape.
But, the girl is given a glimmer of hope once she’s able to fight back against the violence -- the kind of hope Haugen argues women and girls will have access to once they are given the tools to stand up against corrupt law enforcement.
"Though women are [overwhelmingly] the victims of this, they’re also emerging as the champions who are leading the change," he told the Daily Beast. "At IJM, we have stories of women leaders who are now engaging law enforcement very dramatically."