Experiences of gender based violence among refugee populations in Uganda: evidence from four refugee camps
In refugee generating situations, flight conditions and actual refugee circumstances, Gender Based Violence take different forms like rape, female genital mutilation, physical, psychological and emotional abuse, defilement and bride kidnapping in the name of ‘early marriage’ and sexual harassment among others. These forms are heightened by the adverse conditions of lack of basic needs, unequal power relations, breakdown of institutions of social control and order, exposure to the dangers of group violence and low capacity of protection agencies both local and international, and the host governments. This study intended to detail refugee experiences of Gender Based Violence among refugees in Uganda as well as the associated factors. We conducted a qualitative study and used content-thematic approach analysis. While there was high GBV awareness; this did not translate into reduced susceptibility. Detection, prevention and response to GBV were curtailed by an intersectionality of unequal power relations, poverty, and a multiplicity of cultures that concealed the nature, extent and reality of GBV. Effective GBV prevention requires an array of interventions and ‘capacities’ especially access to basic needs for individuals and households. Our findings aver that, gender based violence is endemic in peripheral hard to reach, conflict and post-conflict settings than in more stable communities due to under-reporting and concealment that are associated with numerous capacity challenges in access and utilisation of the available services. The extreme conditions that refugees go through during displacement, flight and resettlement tend to exacerbate and sustain GBV.
Keywords: Experiences, Gender Based Violence, Refugee Camps