Cost-benefit Assessment of Refugee and Asylum-Seeking Women Reporting Sexual and Gender-based Violence in Uganda: Assessing Women’s Resilience as a Means to Protect their Ethno-religious Group
Keywords:Uganda, women, sexual and gender-based violence, resilience, refugees, asylum-seekers, ethnoreligious group
Drawing from fieldwork carried out in Uganda, this empirical study is an enquiry into women’s resilience in the face of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the country. It asks why, and when, refugee and asylum-seeking women decide to report (or not report) SGBV. It also enquires into the issues that determine when they do so. The article shows that many participants did not report cases of SGBV because of their concerns about protecting their ethno-religious group and avoiding further discrimination and villainisation of their communities. Survivors are also confronted with the ineffectiveness of retributive justice, which is slow to punish perpetrators. This has led to the establishment of a plea-bargaining system in the country, although this also falls short of securing justice for SGBV survivors. Therefore, survivors often turn to their communities to deal with instances of SGBV. However, most of these community-based mechanisms reinforce patriarchal discrimination and violence and often disregard women’s well-being, interests, and fundamental rights. Women also have to deal with patriarchal pressure that places the responsibility for community cohesion on the woman, as part of her traditional role. This inhibits the ability to make a free and personal choice that could benefit women as a social group.
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