Globally, the systematic use of sexual violence in modern warfare has resulted in the birth of thousands of children. Research has begun to focus on this often invisible group and the obstacles they face, including stigma, discrimination and exclusion based on their birth origins. Although sexual violence during the Rwandan genocide has been documented on a massive scale, little research has focused on the relational dynamics between mothers who experienced genocide rape and the children they bore. This paper explores the post-genocide realities of these two under-explored populations, revealing two key tensions in relation to identity-building and belonging. Drawing upon in-depth interviews conducted with 44 mothers and 60 youth, we examine how youth participants’ quest for the truth in forming their own identities is often in conflict with mothers’ efforts to disassociate their identities from sexual violence and genocide. Furthermore, both mothers’ and children’s identities remain ‘caught’ in the rigid ethnic politics of the genocide at the national level. Ultimately, this article highlights that the distinction between the self and the larger politics of post-genocide Rwanda are not easily disentangled, as challenges faced by these families exist at the nexus of the personal and the national, the individual and structural.
Denov, Myriam; Eramian, Laura; and Shevell, Meaghan C.
"“You Feel Like You Belong Nowhere”: Conflict-Related Sexual Violence and Social Identity in Post-Genocide Rwanda,"
Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal:
Available at: https://scholarcommons.usf.edu/gsp/vol14/iss1/6
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