When the War Was Over, Little Changed

Research School of Asian, African, and Amerindian Studies (CNWS), Leiden, The Netherlands.
Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease (Impact Factor: 1.69). 08/2006; 194(7):502-9. DOI: 10.1097/01.nmd.0000228505.36302.a3
Source: PubMed


This article explores the psychosocial effects of women's prolonged exposure to civil war in the center of Mozambique. Using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, 91 women were assessed for posttraumatic stress symptoms and psychosocial indicators of ill health. The results indicate that for the majority of the women in this study, traumatic experiences are sequential processes. Their ill health ranges from symptoms of posttraumatic stress to episodes of spirit possession (gamba), affecting women's capacities to conceive and raise children, and marginalizing their social position. A careful analysis of the specific problems and needs of women in postwar contexts is recommended, along with a systematic examination of the effectiveness of the available resources that may play a role in boosting trauma recovery in this group of women.

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Available from: Victor Igreja, Feb 09, 2015
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    • "For instance, with the violence of the late nineteenth century mentioned earlier, harmful spirits emerged named madwite and n'fukua. These spirits strike as a result of alleged serious past wrongdoings perpetrated by the host's kin and they display their power by possessing their hosts and wreak havoc (Honwana 2003; Igreja et al. 2006; Marlin 2001). Over time, madwite and n'fukua strikes waned without leaving a local institutional legacy, which means that there were never madwite and n'fukua healers. "

    Full-text · Chapter · Jan 2014
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    • "The gendered nature of peace has been also less emphasized than the gendered nature of war [10]. The emphasis has been on the marked gender differences in victimization patterns, where women are primarily the victims of sexual and other gender based targeted violence [11] that likely continues well after the conflict has ended [12]. It is less recognized, however, that women also assume important social roles beyond victimhood during war and in the aftermath of conflicts [13]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The long lasting resilience of individuals and communities affected by mass violence has not been given equal prominence as their suffering. This has often led to psychosocial interventions in post-conflict zones being unresponsive to local realities and ill-equipped to foster local strengths. Responding to the renewed interest in resilience in the field of violence and health, this study examines the resilience and post-traumatic responses of Indigenous Quechua women in the aftermath of the political violence in Peru (1980--2000). A cross-sectional study examined the relationship between resilience, post-traumatic responses, exposure to violence during the conflict and current life stress on 151 Quechua women participants. Purposive and convenience sampling strategies were used for recruitment in Ayacucho, the area most exposed to violence. The study instruments were translated to Quechua and Spanish and cross-culturally validated. Data was analyzed using hierarchical regression analysis. A locally informed trauma questionnaire of local idioms of distress was also included in the analysis. Sixty percent of women (n = 91) were recruited from Ayacucho city and the rest from three rural villages; the mean age was 45 years old. Despite high levels of exposure to violence, only 9.3% of the sample presented a level of symptoms that indicated possible PTSD. Resilience did not contribute to the overall variance of post-traumatic stress related symptoms, which was predicted by past exposure to violence, current life stress, age, and schooling (R2 = .421). Resilience contributed instead to the variance of avoidance symptoms (Stand beta = -.198, t = -2.595, p = 0.010) while not for re-experiencing or arousal symptoms. These findings identified some of the pathways in which resilience and post-traumatic responses interrelate in the aftermath of violence; yet, they also point to the complexity of their relationship, which is not fully explained by linear associations, requiring further examination. Age and gender-sensitive health care is considered critical almost fifteen years after the end of the conflict. The notable resilience of Quechua women---despite exposure to a continuum of violence and social inequalities---also calls for enhanced recognition of women not only as victims of violence but also as complex social actors in the reconstruction of post-conflict societies.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Conflict and Health
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    • "Women can easily be accused of infi delity and extramarital relations. Th is predicament creates a good deal of unrest and anxiety for both men and women, but women experience it more acutely (Igreja et al. 2006). "
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    ABSTRACT: This paper focuses on gendered processes of socialization experienced by Christian religious groups in different Christian churches in post-civil war Gorongosa, a district in the centre of Mozambique. Discourses of radical social transformation through Christian interventions and experiences are prominent among Christians, both men and women. Yet a comprehensive and longitudinal analysis of the social world in which the Christian groups are embedded and the performances of Christian men and women demonstrates the emergence of complex processes of transformation and continuities with local cultural beliefs and practices that many non-Christians have partially or thoroughly reformed or abandoned. These changes and continuities also encompass the manifestation of fluid forms of submission and creativity, and masculinities and femininities against the ideological notion of thoroughly new and closed Christian identities. Th e overall analysis suggests that the tension between the practices of change and continuity are necessary in order to create and sustain the legitimacy of the various Christian groups in Gorongosa.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2009 · Journal of Religion in Africa
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