Centre for Women's and Gender Research

New publication: Rwandan Narratives of Genocide and Trauma

Researcher at SKOK, Gaudencia Mutema, has published an article on her research on Rwandan refugees in the journal Trauma & Gewalt.

Main content

The paper presents the ambivalence, for Rwandan refugees, of remembering and talking about trauma resulting from the conflict that culminated in the 1994 genocide and the subsequent displacement of millions of Rwandans. For some Rwandans, being asked to remember and retell their personal stories about war, violence and bloodshed was a painful and distressing experience, that was, at best, to be avoided. For other Rwandans, however, retelling their personal memories was welcomed as an opportunity to talk about the past in their own terms, not as they have been talked about. For me as an ethnographic researcher, conducting interviews on a sensitive topic relating to post-war and genocide trauma presented ethical and methodological challenges about the potential harm of research on respondents and about power relational differences between the researcher and the researched. Using a feminist liberation psychology approach, I argue that not only are these apparent research dilemmas overcome; respondents are able to express through the medium of research, trauma as they experienced it or witnessed it and to inform about strategies they themselves have devised to survive.