Leaders against All Odds: Women Victims of Conflict in Colombia

Citation:

Restrepo, Elvira Maria. 2016. “Leaders against All Odds: Women Victims of Conflict in Colombia.” Palgrave Communications 2 (May): 1–11. doi:10.1057/palcomms.2016.14.

Author: Elvira Maria Restrepo

Abstract:

In the current high-profile conflict within Colombia, women account for the majority of civilian victims. It has been argued that the inclusion of women in peace-building processes may help increase the scope and sustainability of the subsequently achieved peace. However, most women victims of conflict (WVCs) achieve public visibility simply because of their suffering, not because of their potential as sources, initiators and agents of peace. In contrast, this article argues that WVCs represent a hitherto uncharted piece of the peace-building puzzle. In particular, this study explores the ways in which some WVCs are overcoming their own victimhood and emerging as leaders in peace-building, despite the significant personal risks associated with the on-going violence: who better to help heal and empower victims and reconcile society than those who have suffered trauma themselves—and risen above it? The article draws its primary evidence from extensive personal interviews, ethnographic work and data on women victims in Colombia. Against all odds, these unsung WVC leaders have proven to be powerful agents of change: capable of healing, empowering and even reconciling broader society. This article is published as part of a thematic collection on multi- and interdisciplinary perspectives on gender studies.

Keywords: development studies, social policy

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Sexual Violence, SV against women, Violence Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2016

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