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  • 1.
    Berhane, Hanna Y
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), International Child Health and Nutrition.
    Ekström, Eva-Charlotte
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), International Child Health and Nutrition.
    Jirström, Magnus
    Berhane, Yemane
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), International Child Health and Nutrition.
    Turner, Christopher
    Alsanius, Beatrix W
    Trenholm, Jill E.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), International Maternal and Reproductive Health and Migration.
    Mixed blessings:: A qualitative exploration of mothers' experience of child care and feeding in the rapidly urbanizing city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia2018In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 13, no 11, article id e0207685Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Many studies have drawn attention to the vital role mothers have in safeguarding the health and nutritional wellbeing of their children. However, little is known about mothers' experiences and the challenges they face in fulfilling this role in rapidly urbanizing cities in Africa. This study aims to explore child care and feeding practices of mothers with children under five years of age in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This qualitative study was conducted using a semi-structured interview guide. A total of thirty-six interviews were conducted with purposively selected participants. All interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and translated for analysis. We used a thematic analysis approach, which was guided by a resilience framework. The findings are presented as three major themes. 1) 'Mixed blessings-balancing motherhood's expectations'. While mothers identified positively with the social recognition and sense of fulfillment of being a 'good mother', they were ambivalent/torn about earning the necessary income from outside work and fulfilling their duties at home. 2) 'Instabilities due to rampant urban sprawl'. While women expressed a keen desire to balance work and motherhood, the disintegrating social capital, due to large in-migration, market fluctuations and abrupt/forced resettlements to new housing units had left mothers without support for childcare, stressed and exhausted. 3) 'Anchored by faith: a source of resilience to cope with adversities'. In the face of the multiple adversities, mothers cited their strong faith as their most reliable foundation for their resilience. In summary, the societal and environmental changes accompanying the rapid urbanization in low income settings makes combining child care and working outside the home very challenging for mothers. As a result they suffer from fatigue and feelings of isolation. Efforts to improve child feeding and care in urban low-income settings need to consider context appropriate strategies that support mothers with small children.

  • 2.
    Berhane, Hanna Y
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), International Child Health and Nutrition. Addis Continental Inst Publ Hlth, Addis Ababa 267511000, Ethiopia.
    Ekström, Eva-Charlotte
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), International Child Health and Nutrition.
    Jirström, Magnus
    Lund Univ, Dept Human Geog, S-22362 Lund, Sweden.
    Berhane, Yemane
    Addis Continental Institute of Public Health, 26751/1000 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
    Turner, Christopher
    Lund Univ, Dept Human Geog, S-22362 Lund, Sweden;London Sch Hyg & Trop Med, London WC1E 7HT, England.
    Alsanius, Beatrix W
    Swedish Univ Agr Sci, Dept Biosyst & Technol, S-23053 Alnarp, Sweden.
    Trenholm, Jill E.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), International Maternal and Reproductive Health and Migration.
    What Influences Urban Mothers' Decisions on What to Feed Their Children Aged Under Five-The Case of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia2018In: Nutrients, ISSN 2072-6643, E-ISSN 2072-6643, Vol. 10, no 9, article id 1142Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Mothers carry the prime responsibility for childcare and feeding in low-income countries. Understanding their experiences in providing food for their children is paramount to informing efforts to improve the nutritional status of children. Such information is lacking in Sub-Saharan Africa. To understand what influences urban mothers' food acquisition and their motivations for selecting food for their children, 36 in-depth interviews were carried out with mothers having children under five years of age. Interviews were conducted in the local language, audio-recorded, transcribed, and translated into English. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis which led to the identification of four major themes: mothers give-in to a child-driven diet; quick-fix versus the privilege of planning; keen awareness on food safety, nutrition, and diet diversity; and social, familial, and cultural influences. The findings indicate that child feeding practices are influenced by interlinked social and environmental factors. Hence, nutrition education campaigns should focus on targeting not only families but also their children. Attention should also be given to food safety regulations, as well as to the much-needed support of mothers who are struggling to ensure their children's survival in low-income countries.

  • 3.
    Hamed, Sarah
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    Ahlberg, Beth Maina
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH).
    Trenholm, Jill E.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH).
    Powerlessness, Normalization, and Resistance: A Foucauldian Discourse Analysis of Women’s Narratives On Obstetric Fistula in Eastern Sudan2017In: Qualitative Health Research, ISSN 1049-7323, E-ISSN 1552-7557, Vol. 27, no 12, p. 1828-1841Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Eastern Sudan has high prevalence of female circumcision and child marriage constituting a risk for developing obstetric fistula. Few studies have examined gender roles’ relation with obstetric fistula in Sudan. To explore the associated power-relations that may put women at increased risk for developing obstetric fistula, we conducted nine interviews with women living with obstetric fistula in Kassala in eastern Sudan. Using a Foucauldian discourse analysis, we identified three discourses: powerlessness, normalization, and covert resistance. Existing power-relations between the women and other societal members revealed their internalization of social norms as absolute truth, and influenced their status and decision-making power in regard to circumcision, early marriage, and other transformative decisions as well as women’s general behaviors. The women showed subtle resistance to these norms and the harassment they encountered because of their fistula. These findings suggest that a more in-depth contextual assessment could benefit future maternal health interventions.

  • 4.
    Islam, Mohammad Redwanul
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), International Child Health and Nutrition.
    Trenholm, Jill E.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), International Maternal and Reproductive Health and Migration.
    Rahman, Anisur
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH).
    Pervin, Jesmin
    Ekström, Eva-Charlotte
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), International Child Health and Nutrition.
    Rahman, Syed Moshfiqur
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), International Child Health and Nutrition.
    Sociocultural Influences on Dietary Practices and Physical Activity Behaviors of Rural Adolescents-A Qualitative Exploration.2019In: Nutrients, ISSN 2072-6643, E-ISSN 2072-6643, Vol. 11, no 12, article id E2916Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In the aftermath of nutrition transition and ever-increasing sedentarism, adolescents globally are exposed to negative health consequences. Diverse sociocultural influences play a critical role in their adoption of unhealthy dietary practices and suboptimal physical activity behaviors. Context-specific understandings of how these sociocultural influences shape adolescents' dietary and physical activity patterns in a rural, resource-limited setting remained elusive. Aiming to address the gap, this qualitative study explored adolescents' and mothers' perception of broader sociocultural aspects that sculpt the food choices, eating habits and physical activity behaviors of adolescents in Matlab, Bangladesh. Six digitally-recorded focus group discussions were transcribed verbatim, translated into English and analyzed thematically. Marked taste-driven dietary preference of adolescents and its prioritization within family by the mothers, popularity of street foods, better understanding of the importance of food hygiene and safety contrasting with narrow perception of balance and diversity in diet, peer influence along with deficient school and community food environment, internalization and rigidity of gender norms were found to be exerting major influence. The findings highlighted key targets for community-based nutrition interventions and endorsed thorough consideration of socio-cultural factors in formulating strategies to promote healthful eating and physical activity behaviors among the adolescents.

  • 5.
    Trenholm, Jill
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH). Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Women Survivors, Lost Children and Traumatized Masculinities: The Phenomena of Rape and War in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo2013Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This thesis aims to investigate the phenomenon of war rape in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in order to understand the dynamics, contextual realities and consequences of its perpetration. Practical and theoretical knowledge is generated which is relevant for health care interventions, humanitarian assistance and peace initiatives, that are cognizant of the actual needs of the affected populations.

    The study employed ethnographic methodology involving prolonged engagement with the field, participant observation, formal and informal interviews, keeping of field notes and the continuous practice of reflexivity. The four papers in this thesis represent formal interviews with participants from three distinct groups: local leaders (Paper I), ex-child soldier boys (Paper II) and women survivors of sexual violence (Paper III & IV).

    Qualitative Content Analysis was used for the interview study with local leaders (Paper I). Findings from this study reveal how mass rape and the methods of perpetration create a chaos effectively destroying communities. The leaders draw attention to the fact that an exclusive focus on raped women misses other structural factors that contribute to war and sexual violence, factors such as the global political economy, international apathy, the stance of the church, effects of militarization, inappropriate aid and interpretations of gender roles.

    Through the theoretical lenses of militarised masculinity and gender based violence, interviews with ex-child soldier boys, seen as both victims of war as well as proxy perpetrators of sexual violence, were analyzed using thematic analysis. Findings revealed the systematic and violent construction of children into soldiers, inculcating a rigid set of stereotypical hyper-masculine behaviors promoting dominance by violating the subordinate “other”. These findings argue for a more complex, contextualized view of the perpetrator resulting from the ways society has (re)constructed gender, ethnicity and class.

    Papers III and IV reflect the interviews and narratives provided by women survivors. Guided by thematic analysis and a matrix of theories: Structural violence, Intersectionality and “new wars”; Paper III bears witness to the women’s expressions of their profound losses and dispossession as they struggle to survive stigmatization in the impoverished margins of the warzone, along with children born of rape. The perpetrator is cited here as well as by the leaders as predominantly Interhamwe. Payne’s Sites of Resilience model used in Paper IV situates stigmatized women survivors suffering in a global context as they navigate survival, demonstrating resilience in the margins through support from their faith in God, scarce health services, indigenous healing and strategic alliances. Findings suggest that collaborations of existing strengthened networks, ie: the church, healthcare and indigenous healers, could extend the reach of sustainable and holistic support services, positively effecting already identified sites of resilience.

    Findings draw attention to the challenges faced by public health in addressing mass trauma. Women’s raped bodies represent tangible material damage, embedded in a matrix of globalization processes and structural violence involving gender, ethnicity and class. This requires serious reflection.

    List of papers
    1. Battles on women's bodies: War, rape and traumatisation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>Battles on women's bodies: War, rape and traumatisation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo
    2011 (English)In: Global Public Health, ISSN 1744-1692, E-ISSN 1744-1706, Vol. 6, no 2, p. 139-152Article in journal (Refereed) Published
    Abstract [en]

    Rape has been used as a weapon in the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in unprecedented ways. Research into the phenomenon of war-rape is limited, particularly in this context. The aim of this study was to explore perceptions of local leaders in eastern DRC concerning rape and raped women in the war context. Local leaders were chosen for their ability to both reflect and influence their constituencies. Interviews were conducted with 10 local leaders and transcripts subjected to qualitative content analysis. The study suggests that mass raping and the methods of perpetration created a chaos effectively destroying communities and the entire society and that humanitarian aid was often inappropriate. Furthermore, an exclusive focus on raped women missed the extent of traumatisation entire communities suffered. More significantly, the lack of political will, corruption, greed and inappropriate aid creates a tangled web serving to intensify the war. This complexity has implications for humanitarian interventions including public health.

    Keywords
    Democratic Republic of Congo, war-rape, sexual violence, local leaders, humanitarian aid
    National Category
    Medical and Health Sciences
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-122332 (URN)10.1080/17441690903212065 (DOI)000289426100003 ()19787519 (PubMedID)
    Available from: 2010-04-08 Created: 2010-04-08 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
    2. Constructing Soldiers from Boys in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>Constructing Soldiers from Boys in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo
    2013 (English)In: Men and Masculinities, ISSN 1097-184X, E-ISSN 1552-6828, Vol. 16, no 2, p. 203-227Article in journal (Refereed) Published
    Abstract [en]

    This study is part of an ethnography focusing on war rape in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo where child soldiers are both victims and perpetrators of violence. Twelve ex-child soldier boys, aged thirteen to eighteen years, from a reintegration facility were interviewed about their soldiering experiences and their perspectives on sexual violence. Transcripts were analyzed using thematic analysis. Conceptual frameworks of militarized masculine identity and gender-based violence guided the process. Results revealed the systematic and violent construction of children into soldiers, inculcating a "militarized masculinity"; a rigid set of stereotypical hypermasculinized behaviors promoting dominance by violating, sexually and otherwise, the subordinate "other." This was achieved through terrorizing/coercing, use of indigenous preparations, substance abuse, and forbidden reflection. This article presents a more contextualized complex view of the violent perpetrator whose behaviors are a manifestation of the modes and mechanisms in which society has constructed/reconstructed gender, ethnicity, and class, and the power dynamics therein.

    Keywords
    sub-Saharan Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), ethnography, child soldiers, militarized masculinity, sexual violence, war, gender
    National Category
    Social Sciences Medical and Health Sciences
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-202911 (URN)10.1177/1097184X12470113 (DOI)000319223300004 ()
    Conference
    Conference on In Relation to What - Critical Gender Studies on Masculinities and Relationality, 18-20 JAN, 2012, Uppsala, SWEDEN
    Available from: 2013-07-01 Created: 2013-07-01 Last updated: 2018-01-16Bibliographically approved
    3. The global, the ethnic and the gendered war::  Women, rape and dispossesion in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>The global, the ethnic and the gendered war::  Women, rape and dispossesion in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo
    (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Objective:  The purpose of this study was to explore and illuminate the perspectives and experiences of women of sexual violence perpetrated in the conflict, defined as a ‘new war’ in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.  ‘New wars’ indicative of the changing nature of warfare, target civilians and involve raping, looting and pillaging.

    Design: The paper is based on eleven qualitative semi-structured interviews and four written narratives collected from women of reproductive age, recruited from a variety of organizations providing support after sexual violation. This study departs from a larger ethnographic project investigating the phenomenon of war-rape. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the data through the theoretical lenses of structural violence and intersectionality.

    Results: Women expressed total insecurity and a multitude of losses from bodily integrity, health and loss of family, life course possibilities, livelihoods and a sense of place/belonging; a profound dispossession of identity and marginalization. Pregnancies resulting from rape reinforced stigma and burdened the survivor with difficult decisions concerning raising a stigmatized child on the margins of society. Perpetrators of rape were most commonly identified as Interhamwes (Rwandan Hutu rebels) whose goal was to spread HIV, impregnate and claim Congolese women, thereby destroying families and society.

    Conclusion:  Sexually violated women survivors of war experience profound losses. Congo’s conflict reflective of ‘new wars’ involving global, ethnic and gendered dimensions requires imperative critical reflection on how these local wars and subsequent human suffering are situated in a matrix of globalization processes enabled by transnational actors and embedded in structural violence.

    Keywords
    sexual violence, gender, new wars, Democratic Republic of Congo, structural violence, globalization
    National Category
    Medical and Health Sciences Social Sciences
    Research subject
    Caring Sciences in Social Sciences; International Health
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-204436 (URN)
    Projects
    PhD project investigating phenomena of war-rape in Democratic Republic of Congo
    Available from: 2013-08-05 Created: 2013-08-05 Last updated: 2013-08-29
    4. Against all odds:: Women Survivors of Sexual Violence in the War in Eastern Democrtic Republic of Congo
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>Against all odds:: Women Survivors of Sexual Violence in the War in Eastern Democrtic Republic of Congo
    Show others...
    (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    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.

    Keywords
    Democratic Republic of Congo, ethnography, sexaul violence, war, gender, resilience, marginalization, church, indigenous healing
    National Category
    Medical and Health Sciences Social Sciences
    Research subject
    Caring Sciences in Social Sciences; International Health
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-204439 (URN)
    Projects
    PhD project investigating war rape in eastern DRC
    Available from: 2013-08-05 Created: 2013-08-05 Last updated: 2013-08-29
  • 6.
    Trenholm, Jill E.
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH).
    Olsson, Pia
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH).
    Ahlberg, Beth Maina
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH).
    Battles on women's bodies: War, rape and traumatisation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo2011In: Global Public Health, ISSN 1744-1692, E-ISSN 1744-1706, Vol. 6, no 2, p. 139-152Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Rape has been used as a weapon in the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in unprecedented ways. Research into the phenomenon of war-rape is limited, particularly in this context. The aim of this study was to explore perceptions of local leaders in eastern DRC concerning rape and raped women in the war context. Local leaders were chosen for their ability to both reflect and influence their constituencies. Interviews were conducted with 10 local leaders and transcripts subjected to qualitative content analysis. The study suggests that mass raping and the methods of perpetration created a chaos effectively destroying communities and the entire society and that humanitarian aid was often inappropriate. Furthermore, an exclusive focus on raped women missed the extent of traumatisation entire communities suffered. More significantly, the lack of political will, corruption, greed and inappropriate aid creates a tangled web serving to intensify the war. This complexity has implications for humanitarian interventions including public health.

  • 7.
    Trenholm, Jill
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH). Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Olsson, Pia
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health.
    Blomqvist, Martha
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Ahlberg, Beth Maina
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health.
    Constructing Soldiers from Boys in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo2013In: Men and Masculinities, ISSN 1097-184X, E-ISSN 1552-6828, Vol. 16, no 2, p. 203-227Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study is part of an ethnography focusing on war rape in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo where child soldiers are both victims and perpetrators of violence. Twelve ex-child soldier boys, aged thirteen to eighteen years, from a reintegration facility were interviewed about their soldiering experiences and their perspectives on sexual violence. Transcripts were analyzed using thematic analysis. Conceptual frameworks of militarized masculine identity and gender-based violence guided the process. Results revealed the systematic and violent construction of children into soldiers, inculcating a "militarized masculinity"; a rigid set of stereotypical hypermasculinized behaviors promoting dominance by violating, sexually and otherwise, the subordinate "other." This was achieved through terrorizing/coercing, use of indigenous preparations, substance abuse, and forbidden reflection. This article presents a more contextualized complex view of the violent perpetrator whose behaviors are a manifestation of the modes and mechanisms in which society has constructed/reconstructed gender, ethnicity, and class, and the power dynamics therein.

  • 8.
    Trenholm, Jill
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH).
    Olsson, Pia
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health.
    Blomqvist, Martha
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Ahlberg, Beth Maina
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health.
    The global, the ethnic and the gendered war: women and rape in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo2016In: Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, ISSN 0966-369X, E-ISSN 1360-0524, Vol. 23, no 4, p. 484-502Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The purpose of this study was to illuminate the perspectives of women who experienced sexual violence perpetrated in the warscapes of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Civilians are targeted for rape, loot and pillage yielding deleterious effects on the social fabric and the sustenance the community provides. The article is based on 11 qualitative semistructured interviews and 4 written narratives from women of reproductive age, recruited from organizations providing support post-sexual violation. The study departs from a larger ethnographic project investigating the phenomenon of war-rape. Thematic analysis guided the analysis through the theoretical lenses of structural violence and intersectionality. The women expressed total insecurity and a multitude of losses from bodily integrity, health, loss of family, life course possibilities, livelihoods and a sense of place; a profound dispossession of identity and marginalization. Pregnancies resulting from rape reinforced stigma and burdened the survivor with raising a stigmatized child on the margins of society. Perpetrators of rape were mostly identified as Interhamwe (Rwandan Hutus rebels) who entered Congo after the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Their goal, according to the women, was to spread HIV and impregnate Congolese women, thereby destroying families, communities and society. The women survivors of war-rape described experiences of profound loss in this conflict which has global, ethnic and gendered dimensions. Congo's conflict thus requires critical reflection on how local wars and subsequent human suffering are situated in a matrix of globalization processes, enabled by transnational actors and embedded in structural violence.

  • 9.
    Trenholm, Jill
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH). Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Olsson, Pia
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH).
    Blomqvist, Martha
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Bitenga, Ali
    Panzi Hospital.
    Maina-Ahlberg, Beth
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH). Skaraborg Institute for Research and Development.
    Against all odds:: Women Survivors of Sexual Violence in the War in Eastern Democrtic Republic of CongoManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    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.

  • 10.
    Trenholm, Jill
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH). Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Olsson, Pia
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH).
    Blomqvist, Martha
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
    Maina-Ahlberg, Beth
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH).
    The global, the ethnic and the gendered war::  Women, rape and dispossesion in eastern Democratic Republic of CongoManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Objective:  The purpose of this study was to explore and illuminate the perspectives and experiences of women of sexual violence perpetrated in the conflict, defined as a ‘new war’ in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.  ‘New wars’ indicative of the changing nature of warfare, target civilians and involve raping, looting and pillaging.

    Design: The paper is based on eleven qualitative semi-structured interviews and four written narratives collected from women of reproductive age, recruited from a variety of organizations providing support after sexual violation. This study departs from a larger ethnographic project investigating the phenomenon of war-rape. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the data through the theoretical lenses of structural violence and intersectionality.

    Results: Women expressed total insecurity and a multitude of losses from bodily integrity, health and loss of family, life course possibilities, livelihoods and a sense of place/belonging; a profound dispossession of identity and marginalization. Pregnancies resulting from rape reinforced stigma and burdened the survivor with difficult decisions concerning raising a stigmatized child on the margins of society. Perpetrators of rape were most commonly identified as Interhamwes (Rwandan Hutu rebels) whose goal was to spread HIV, impregnate and claim Congolese women, thereby destroying families and society.

    Conclusion:  Sexually violated women survivors of war experience profound losses. Congo’s conflict reflective of ‘new wars’ involving global, ethnic and gendered dimensions requires imperative critical reflection on how these local wars and subsequent human suffering are situated in a matrix of globalization processes enabled by transnational actors and embedded in structural violence.

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