Against all odds:: Women Survivors of Sexual Violence in the War in Eastern Democrtic Republic of Congo
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
This study is part of an ethnographic focus on the phenomena of war rape in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Its purpose was to explore and illuminate how women survivors of sexual violence navigated and negotiated “survive-ing” in the stigmatized margins of an already impoverished existence. The paper departs from a previous study where women expressed multiple losses and profound dispossession of identity with subsequent marginalization often with a child born of rape in tow.
The findings are based on eleven qualitative in-depth interviews with rural women of reproductive age recruited from a variety of organizations supporting women after sexual violation. Thematic analysis and Payne’s theoretical framework concerning sites of resilience guided the analysis. Results indicated how the women exhibited agency, proactive decisions and resilience in severely compromised environments embedded in a larger oppressive complexity. Their faith in God, limited health interventions that challenge cultural understandings around sexuality, indigenous healing, and strategic alliances, ie aid organizations or survival sex supported these women to manage their daily existence in the margins. These survival strategies are identified as sites of resilience and are vital contextual knowledge for planning effective interventions. The findings suggest that strengthening collaboration between existing networks such as the church, healthcare and indigenous healing practices would extend the reach of health services, offering more sustainable holistic care and in effect, better serve the needs of sexual violated individuals but as well the entire community, subjected to mass traumatization.
Democratic Republic of Congo, ethnography, sexaul violence, war, gender, resilience, marginalization, church, indigenous healing
Medical and Health Sciences Social Sciences
Research subject Caring Sciences in Social Sciences; International Health
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-204439OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-204439DiVA: diva2:639039
ProjectsPhD project investigating war rape in eastern DRC