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Symposium: Northwestern University Program of African Studies

  • 620 Library Place Evanston, IL, 60208 United States (map)

Conflict Zones and Zones of Conflict: War, Peace and the 
Continuum of Sexual Violence in Eastern Africa

Whereas before the 1990s mainstream human rights rejected the notion that privately inflicted violence against women was a human rights concern, violence against women is now framed internationally as the leading cause of women’s poor health and mental well-being and a financial burden to society more broadly. East and Central Africa have been the impetus and programmatic focus of much of this shift in the aftermath of the genocide in Rwanda, ongoing massive sexual violence in DR Congo and international advocacy concerning female genital cutting and early marriage. Advocacy efforts have addressed all forms of sexual and gender based violence that affect women in war and peace with initiatives to expand the positive human rights of women, including rights to equality, to reproductive and sexual health, and to participate in all spheres, including reconstruction, peace, and development.

While initial efforts in East and Central Africa focused on tertiary prevention such as psychosocial and criminal justice (DRC, Kenya, Sudan, Uganda and CAR), there is now greater recognition that pernicious societal injustices contribute to a continuum of sexual and gender based violence in refugee camps, settlement communities and the aftermath of conflict. There is growing consensus of the need to move beyond “conflict exceptionalism” and focus instead on the contexts of social injustice. As the focus of international protection programs shifts to address the social and cultural contexts of gender justice, there is much to learn about the ways in which communities themselves can and do serve as the agents of change. Specifically, little is know about community-based protection, i.e., the ways in which East and Central African refugee communities contribute to the protection and/or harm of women in host and resettlement contexts.

This one-day workshop draws upon case studies of East and Central African refugee women in the United States and Kenya in order to (1) critically examine the social contexts of injustice, (2) examine the efficacy of public health (financial ‘burden of disease’) and human rights (social justice) based approaches, (3) consider how advocacy framings and narratives of sexual and gender based violence can work as a community-based approach and, ultimately, (4) enlarge our understandings of community-based approaches in “zones of conflict” such as refugee camps, urban areas and resettlement communities by raising questions for future research.

FREE & Open to the Public
(847) 491-7323 
african-studies@northwestern.edu

Speakers

Habon Daud (Somali Advisory Council, Minn.)
Aimee Hilado (RefugeeOne)
Carol Pavlish (Public Health, UCLA)
Michael Penn (Psychology, Franklin & Marshall Collge)
Anne Ream (Voices and Faces Project)
Alisa Roadcup (Heshima Kenya)
Galya Ruffer (Northwestern University)
Leslie Thomas (ART WORKS Projects)

Schedule:

8:30AM-9:00AM Coffee
9:00AM-10:30AM Social Contexts of Injustice – Case Studies Across Refugee
Settlement Contexts
10:45AM -12:15PM Public Health & Human Rights as Community-Based Approaches to Social Injustice
12:15PM -1:15PM Lunch (The Prosecutors film trailer)
1:15PM-3:00PM Bridging Refugee Community Settlement Contexts: the Role of Testimony and Advocacy Framings of Injustice
3:15PM-4:15PM Discussion: raising questions for future research on Community Based Protection & the Continuum of Sexual and Gender Based Violence