A Narrative Study of Refugee Women Who Have Experienced Violence in the Context of War
Estella Rosa Irías Girón
Antonia Ponce Marroquín
Although women are rarely on the frontlines of battle, as in many other realms of contemporary life they bear a disproportionate burden of the consequences of war. Many have experienced torture firsthand or been witnesses to the torture or killing of family, friends, and loved ones. The use of rape and other forms of sexual torture has been well documented. For those who are forced to flee their homes and countries, separation from spouses, children, and other family members is common. Because of the sheer magnitude of global conflict, the number of refugees and displaced persons throughout the world has risen exponentially. It has been estimated that women constitute more than half of the world's refugee population. The purpose of this narrative study was to examine the experiences of refugee women who experienced violence in the context of war. Data analysis revealed 8 themes: lives forever changed, new notions of normality, a pervasive sense of fear, selves obscured, living among and between cultures, a woman's place in Canada, bearing heavy burdens - the centrality of children, and an uncaring system of care. Implications for research and practice, including limitations associated with individualized Western approaches, are discussed.
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