The Politics of Culture in Humanitarian Aid to Women Refugees Who Have Experienced Sexual Violence


Atlani, Laetitia, and Cecile Rousseau. 2000. "The Politics of Culture in Humanitarian Aid to Women Refugees Who Have Experienced Sexual Violence." Transcultural Psychiatry 37 (3): 435-49.

Authors: Laetitia Atlani, Cecile Rousseau


There is a growing sense of urgency within international humanitarian aid agencies to intervene quickly when faced with organized violence stemming from war or armed conflict. From this perspective, the rape of refugees calls for prompt psychological intervention. Beyond this sense of urgency, the premises underlying the different models of humanitarian intervention being utilized require further documentation. What concepts and practices characterize the mental health interventions for refugee women who have suffered sexual violence? How is transcultural psychiatry conceived and practised in refugee camps? How is ‘refugee culture’ defined? What do these definitions imply when translated into therapeutic care to rape victims? This article discusses these issues, and raises some concerns about the appropriateness and the scope of UN and nongovernmental approaches. 

Keywords: humanitarian aid, sexual violence, refugee, culture, documentation, mental health, transcultural psychiatry, mental health intervention

Topics: Armed Conflict, Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Refugee/IDP Camps, Gender, Women, Health, Mental Health, Humanitarian Assistance, Context-Appropriate Response to Trauma, International Organizations, NGOs, Sexual Violence, Rape, Violence

Year: 2000

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