Women, war trauma and peacebuilding

Project Leader

Karen Brounéus, Ph.D.

Project Period

2015-2018

Co-researcher

Erika Forsberg, Ph.D.

Project Description

To date, post-conflict peacebuilding through truth commissions has been, to a large extent, gender blind. We propose in this project, however, that these processes may involve increased challenges to women due to the types of violence they were subjected to during the war. More specifically, while more men than women are subjected to fatal and non-fatal violence during armed conflict, women are more often subjected to sexual and/or gender-based violence. Such gendered differences in war trauma may also have a direct link to the prevalence of psychological health problems such as PTSD and depression, which – in turn – may become significant hurdles to peacebuilding in the post-conflict phase.

In this project, we seek to investigate these challenges of post-conflict peace-building processes by studying the complex (and possibly gendered) relationships between war-related trauma and attitudes towards peace-building, trust and co-existence after war. Building on previous research, we propose that many of the challenges women face in the aftermath of war may be unspoken – and thus not addressed in peacebuilding theory or practice. By untangling and studying these challenges in two post-conflict countries we turn the lime-light to one critical aspect of post-conflict peacebuilding: whether war-related trauma involves different challenges for women and men in the peacebuilding phase. 

Main Financial Support

Funded by the Swedish Research Council

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