What is it about?

“Forced migrants” refers to people fleeing political and economic unrest or natural disasters. Forced migrant women and children are especially vulnerable to sexual and gendered violence. This violence can be at the hands of their fellow migrants, guards at refugee camps, human smugglers etc. They are also forced to live in crowded, and unhygienic housing, which is often unsafe. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many forced migrant women faced increased violence due to lockdowns. Their race, health status, and social status made the abuse worse. The authors of this study examined how structural changes during the pandemic affected forced migrant women. They focused on three kinds of “structural violence” faced by forced migrant women. The first, “violent abandonment,” is the lack of government support for forced migrants. The second, “slow violence of every day,” led forced migrant women to lose access to jobs and basic amenities. The third, “violent uncertainty,” refers to the lack of clarity on the support they will receive in the future. The authors, in their study, connected the three to reveal how gendered violence against these women increased during the pandemic.

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Why is it important?

People often overlook the struggles faced by forced migrant women. Current dialogues on forced migrant experiences fail to consider the violence that they face. A lack of governmental support and loss of jobs increased the distress faced by forced migrant women. Many of them were forced to share homes with their abusers. The direct experiences of these women can help us learn more about structural violence. This will help drive efforts to prevent sexual and gendered violence against forced migrant women. KEY TAKEAWAY: Forced migrant women faced increased sexual and gendered violence during the pandemic. This increased their distress. This study focuses on the three types of structural violence that contribute to this. Studying this will help us learn how we can provide these women with safe and abuse-free lives.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: “We are Forgotten”: Forced Migration, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, and Coronavirus Disease-2019, Violence Against Women, September 2021, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/10778012211030943.
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