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Open Access A Narrative Study of Refugee Women Who Have Experienced Violence in the Context of War Analyse descriptive des expériences vécues par les réfugiées victimes de violence en temps de guerre

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Abstract:

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.

French
Même si les femmes se retrouvent rarement sur la ligne de front en temps de guerre, elles en subissent néanmoins les conséquences de façon disproportionnée, comme c'est le cas dans plusieurs autres sphères de la vie contemporaine. Celles qui ont connu la guerre sont nombreuses à avoir subi la torture ou été témoins d'actes de torture ou de meurtre infligés à des proches et à des amis. Le recours au viol ainsi qu'à d'autres formes de torture sexuelle est un fait attesté par de nombreux témoignages. Les femmes forcées de fuir leur foyer et leur pays se voient souvent obligées de se séparer de leur conjoint, de leurs enfants et des autres membres de leur famille. Le nombre de réfugiés et de déplacés ne cesse de croître en raison de l'ampleur même des conflits dans le monde : on estime que les femmes en représentent plus de la moitié. La présente étude avait pour but de décrire l'expérience de réfugiées qui ont été victimes de violence dans le cadre d'une guerre. Huit thèmes se dégagent des données recueillies : la transformation d'une vie à jamais; de nouvelles conceptions de la normalité; un sentiment de peur permanent; la perte d'identité; l'impression de vivre à cheval entre les cultures; la place de la femme au Canada; le sentiment de porter un lourd fardeau - le rôle central des enfants; l'indifférence des intervenants de la santé. Les auteures examinent les implications de l'étude pour la recherche et la pratique, soulignant les limites des approches individualisées suivies en Occident.

Keywords: HEALTH; NARRATIVE; REFUGEES; TRAUMA; VIOLENCE; WAR; WOMEN

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-12-01

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