Context-Appropriate Response to Trauma

The Lives of Women in a Land Reclamation Project: Gender, Class, Culture and Place in Egyptian Land and Water Management


Rap, Edwin, and Martina Jaskolski. 2019. “The Lives of Women in a Land Reclamation Project: Gender, Class, Culture and Place in Egyptian Land and Water Management.” International Journal of the Commons 13 (1): 84–104.

Authors: Edwin Rap, Martina Jaskolski


This article links feminist political ecology with the academic debate about commoning by focusing on the gendered distribution of common pool resources, in particular land and water. The research is set in the context of a coastal land reclamation project in Egypt’s Nile Delta, in a region where conflicts over resources such as arable land and fresh water are intensifying. Drawing on recent literature on commoning, we analyse the conditions under which different groups of resource users are constrained or enabled to act together. The article presents three case studies of women who represent different groups using land and water resources along the same irrigation canal. Through the concepts of intersectionality, performativity, and gendered subjectivity, this article explores how these women negotiate access to land and water resources to sustain viable livelihoods. The case studies unpack how the intersection of gender, class, culture, and place produces gendered subject positions in everyday resource access, and how this intersectionality either facilitates or constrains commoning. We argue that commoning practices are culturally and spatially specific and shaped by pre-existing resource access. Such access is often unequally structured along categories of class and gender in land reclamation and irrigation projects. 

Keywords: common pool resources, commoning, Egypt, feminist political ecology, Gender, intersectionality, Nile, performativity

Topics: Class, Feminisms, Feminist Political Ecology, Gender, Women, Humanitarian Assistance, Context-Appropriate Response to Trauma, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Intersectionality, Livelihoods, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, MENA, North Africa, Middle East Countries: Egypt

Year: 2019

A Grounded Theory Investigation Into the Experiences of African Women Refugees: Effects on Resilience and Identity and Implications for Service Provision.


Sherwood, Katie, and Helen Liebling-Kalifani. 2012. “A Grounded Theory Investigation Into The Experiences Of African Women Refugees: Effects On Resilience And Identity And Implications For Service Provision1.” Journal of International Women’s Studies 13 (1): 86-108.

Authors: Katie Sherwood, Helen Liebling-Kalifani


The current study aims to explore African women’s experiences of violence during conflict. The research was undertaken in 2009 in part fulfilment for a Doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology. Previous research on women refugees’ experiences has focused on the negative impact on psychological functioning despite indications that they show great strength and resilience. Using qualitative methods the study sought to identify the impact of violence on mental health as well as develop a greater understanding of the roles of resilience, coping and identity. Women from Somalia and Zimbabwe who attended a refugee centre in the UK were interviewed; analysis of the results identified a relationship between resilience, access to rights and support and identity. It also recognised cultural and societal influences and experiences in the United Kingdom as contributing factors. Findings support the move toward a more holistic model of understanding refugee women’s experiences. However, the study also reveals the importance of support and treatment assisting women to utilise their resilience in reconstructing their identities from traumatic events and recovery process.

Keywords: women, refugees, trauma, Africa, gender based violence

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Gender-Based Violence, Health, Mental Health, Trauma, Humanitarian Assistance, Context-Appropriate Response to Trauma, Rights, Violence Regions: Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, Northern Europe Countries: Somalia, United Kingdom, Zimbabwe

Year: 2012

In War’s Wake: Contextualizing Trauma Experiences and Psychosocial Well-Being Among Eritrean Youth


Farwell, Nancy. 2003. “In War’s Wake: Contextualizing Trauma Experiences and Psychosocial Well-Being Among Eritrean Youth.” International Journal of Mental Health 32 (4): 20–30.

Author: Nancy Farwell


This study examines war trauma experienced by Eritrean youth, their psychological symptoms and contextual actors related to their psychosocial well-being in the postwar environment in Eritrea. The youth offered retrospective accounts of trauma experiences in semi-structured interviews that included open- and closed-ended questions and the administration of the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire. Among the ninety-seven youth in this school-based sample from four regions of Eritrea, exposure to trauma and economic hardship were significant predictors of psychological distress. Refugee status did not predict lower symptom levels, a factor related to the stressors encountered in exile as well as to the earlier war events that forced the youth and their families to flee their country. For many youth, grief over the loss of parents and close relatives was not resolved. The youth were generally positive about the future, both personally and in the context of a free and independent Eritrea. This article suggests that the intrapsychic post-traumatic stress disorder framework may be too narrow for conceptualizing war trauma, which is essentially psychosocial in nature, and deeply contextualized in a community's socioeconomic and political realities of conflict and its aftermath. Expanding this knowledge base is important order to ensure that practitioners and policy makers can effectively assist youth and their families with the postconflict tasks of healing and reintegration, essential elements of building a lasting peace.

Topics: Age, Youth, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Girls, Boys, Health, Trauma, Humanitarian Assistance, Context-Appropriate Response to Trauma, Post-Conflict Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Eritrea

Year: 2003

Plight and Fate of Women During and Following Genocide


Totten, Samuel, ed. 2012. Plight and Fate of Women During and Following Genocide. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

Author: Samuel Totten


The plight and fate of female victims during the course of genocide is radically and profoundly different from their male counterparts. Like males, female victims suffer demonization, ostracism, discrimination, and deprivation of their basic human rights. They are often rounded up, deported, and killed. But, unlike most men, women are subjected to rape, gang rape, and mass rape. Such assaults and degradation can, and often do, result in horrible injuries to their reproductive systems and unwanted pregnancies. This volume takes one stride towards assessing these grievances, and argues against policies calculated to continue such indifference to great human suffering.
The horror and pain suffered by females does not end with the act of rape. There is always the fear, and reality, of being infected with HIV/AIDS. Concomitantly, there is the possibility of becoming pregnant.Then, there is the birth of the babies. For some, the very sight of the babies and children reminds mothers of the horrific violations they suffered. When mothers harbor deep-seated hatred or distain for such children, it results in more misery. The hatred may be so great that children born of rape leave home early in order to fend for themselves on the street.
This seventh volume in the Genocide series will provoke debate, discussion, reflection and, ultimately, action. The issues presented include ongoing mass rape of girls and women during periods of war and genocide, ostracism of female victims, terrible psychological and physical wounds, the plight of offspring resulting from rapes, and the critical need for medical and psychological services.
(Transaction Publishers)

Topics: Gender, Women, Genocide, Health, HIV/AIDS, Reproductive Health, Trauma, Humanitarian Assistance, Context-Appropriate Response to Trauma, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against Women

Year: 2012

Violence Against Women in Ethiopia


Kedir, Abbi and Lul Admasachew. 2010. “Violence Against Women in Ethiopia.” Gender, Place & Culture 17 (4): 437–52. doi:10.1080/0966369X.2010.485832.

Authors: Abbi Kedir, Lul Admasachew


Investigating the experience of violence against women and exploring women's coping strategies is a crucial component of re-tailoring the provision of services for victims/survivors. This article explores violence against women in the context of culture, theory of fear of violence and literature on spaces perceived to be ‘safe’ or ‘dangerous’ by women victims/survivors of violence in Ethiopia. To collect the relevant data, we conducted 14 semi-structured interviews with Ethiopian women who are victims/survivors of violence and three interviews with gender experts in Ethiopia. Our group of women suffer in ‘silence’ and confide only in friends and relatives. They did not resort to institutional support due to lack of awareness and general societal disapproval of such measures. This contrasts with claims by experts that the needs of these women are addressed using an institutional approach. Culture, migration status and lack of negotiating power in places of work are key factors when considering violence. The majority of the respondents in this study occupy both public and private spaces such as bars and homes and have experienced violence in those spaces. The social relations and subsequent offences they endured do not make spaces such as these safe. Education of both sexes, creation of awareness, sustainable resource allocation to support victims/survivors, ratification of the Maputo protocol and effective law enforcement institutions are some of the practical strategies we propose to mitigate the incidence of violence in Ethiopia.

Keywords: violence, women, Ethiopia, victim/survivor

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Health, Trauma, Humanitarian Assistance, Context-Appropriate Response to Trauma, Sexual Violence, SV against Women, Violence Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Ethiopia

Year: 2010

Sudanese Refugee Youth in Foster Care: The ‘Lost Boys’ in America


Bates, Laura, Diane Baird, Deborah J. Johnson, Robert E. Lee, Tom Luster, and Christine Rehagen. 2005. “Sudanese Refugee Youth in Foster Care: The ‘Lost Boys’ in America.” Child Welfare 84 (5): 631–48.

Authors: Laura Bates, Diane Baird, Deborah Johnson, Robert E. Lee, Tom Luster, Christine Rehagen


This study examined the resettlement experiences of unaccompanied Sudanese refugee youth placed in foster care from the perspectives of the youth, foster parents, and agency caseworkers. Youth experienced considerable success. The challenges of adjusting to school and family life, however, suggest a need for funding to support more intensive educational services, more cultural training and support for foster parents and school personnel, and flexibility to provide services in more culturally appropriate modalities.

Topics: Age, Youth, Displacement & Migration, Forced Migration, Refugees, Gender, Boys, Households, Humanitarian Assistance, Context-Appropriate Response to Trauma Regions: Africa, East Africa, Americas, North America Countries: Sudan, United States of America

Year: 2005

Narrating Trauma and Reconstruction in Post-Conflict Karachi


Chaudhry, Lubna Nazir, and Corrine Bertram. 2009. “Narrating Trauma and Reconstruction in Post-Conflict Karachi: Feminist Liberation Psychology and the Contours of Agency in the Margins.” Feminism & Psychology 19 (3): 298-312.

Authors: Lubna Nazir Chaudhry, Corrine Bertram


The article examines poor women's responses to direct and structural violence in Karachi, Pakistan, by combining goals and themes from liberation psychology with transnational feminism. We draw on interviews with Mohajir women survivors to analyse constructions of psychosocial trauma and attempts to rebuild post-conflict life-worlds, in a bid to understand the scope and contours of their agency within their ‘limit situations’. Although agency, resistance, and critical consciousness remain constrained by multi-layered power relations, women's narratives reflect crucial insights about social structures impacting their lives, and point to the need for interventions that integrate trauma alleviation and opportunities for local, national, and transnational grassroots activism, advocacy and policy initiatives.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Health, Trauma, Humanitarian Assistance, Context-Appropriate Response to Trauma, Political Participation, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Violence Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Pakistan

Year: 2009

Gender, HIV/AIDS, and Refugees - Reconceiving Vulnerability and Promoting Transformation: a Kenyan Case Study


Morris, Margot. 2005. “Gender, HIV/AIDS, and Refugees - Reconceiving Vulnerability and Promoting Transformation: a Kenyan Case Study.” Dialogue 3 (1): 1-40.

Author: Margot Morris


This article examines the way in which UNHCR is responding to the feminisation of HIV/AIDS within refugee camps. It argues that UNHCR must transform the complex of gendered power structures that place refugee women at an increased risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. It finds that there are significant structures that heighten the risk of female refugees contracting the disease. Current approaches to HIV/AIDS interventions are examined through a gendered understanding of how the epidemic impacts on women and girls. It is contended that approaches that empower women and transform gendered structures are the most appropriate mechanism for addressing the feminisation of HIV/AIDS within refugee camps. Finally, this article examines a case study of two refugee camps within Kenya. It demonstrates that existing HIV/AIDS programmes within these camps are an inadequate response to the feminisation of the disease and argues that UNHCR must employ empowering and transformational strategies.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Refugee/IDP Camps, Gender, Women, Girls, Gendered Power Relations, Health, HIV/AIDS, Humanitarian Assistance, Context-Appropriate Response to Trauma, International Organizations Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Kenya

Year: 2005

Rape and Recovery in Rwanda: The Viability of Local Justice Initiatives and the Availability of Surrogate State Protection for Women That Flee


Nessel, Lori A. 2007. “Rape and Recovery in Rwanda: The Viability of Local Justice Initiatives and the Availability of Surrogate State Protection for Women That Flee.” Michigan State Journal of International Law 15: 101.

Author: Lori A. Nessel

Topics: Gender, Women, Humanitarian Assistance, Context-Appropriate Response to Trauma, Justice, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against Women Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2007

Reexamining What We Think We Know: A Lesson Learned from Tamil Refugees


Weaver, Hilary N. 2005. “Reexamining What We Think  We Know: A Lesson Learned from Tamil Refugees.” Affilia 20 (2): 238–45.

Author: Hilary N. Weaver


This article describes a project designed to create a culturally appropriate tool to assess trauma in Tamil people who have fled civil war in Sri Lanka. In addition to being culturally appropriate, the project sought to determine if the assessment tool would adequately measure trauma experienced by women. Despite concern that Tamil women would be reluctant to discuss sexual assault, in this project women did indeed describe their traumatic experiences and often preferred to do so in the presence of multiple people. Notably, Tamil men also commonly stated that they experienced sexual assault. As social workers, we are reminded that there is a continual need to question assumptions, especially those about what we expect people from a particular culture to think, believe, and do.

Keywords: cultural competence, Rape survivors, refugees, Tamil

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Gender, Women, Men, Humanitarian Assistance, Context-Appropriate Response to Trauma, Sexual Violence, SV against Men, SV against Women Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2005


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