Gender is space of identifying stereotypical responses of norms within the complexities of self identification outside of physical sex. This extends to the symbolism, visual aspects, and actions defined to appear on a gender scale based on cultural upbringing of those norms. When refugees are displaced from their direct cultural settings, given a lack of appropriate political opportunity within the resettle camps, women are forced from their normal cultural surroundings into an very unregulated system where they risk increased physical and sexual violence. In this paper I will discuss the lack of a political opportunity within these camps for women, the resulting violence within these camps, and potential solutions for these problems.
#Political Opportunity Structure
Women living in refugee camps do not have adequate resources to maintain
#Violence Against Women Increased
Living as a women in a refugee camp is going to greatly increase the risk of violent and forced sexual encounters. This is due to a lack of overlying protection and power structure for women. This forces women to gain personal protection from men and have to engage in intimate partner violence (IPV) or be raped by someone else.
Potential solutions for many of these problems include forms of education, ectect
#Little and/or Weak Structure
#Women in Lebanon
With the civil war waging on in Syria, there recently have been over a 1 million refugees reported in the neighboring country of Lebanon.
With the high number of refugees comes a high number of reported cases of gender based violence within the refugee population.
#Limited to no resources for those in need
“Adult female participants in several focus groups reported that IPV has increased since their arrival in Lebanon, while adolescent girls stated that early marriages have increased, most frequently framed as efforts by families to ‘protect’ girls from being
raped or to ensure that they are ‘under the protection of a man’.”
“Widowed or other women on their own are particularly
vulnerable, with some hiding the fact that their husbands have been killed or kidnapped and even pretending in public to receive phone calls from their former husbands to protect themselves from male harassment. “
“Survivors are reluctant to report SGBV or seek support due to the shame, fear and ‘dishonour’ to their families. Women risk further physical and sexual violence, including death, often from their own families, when reporting GBV, a pattern that exists in many contexts “
“The inability to sustain a household and access key resources makes women — in particular, those who head households — vulnerable to high-risk situations, including exploitative work or housing arrangements, dependence on others for food and other necessities, and early or forced marriage.”
“In 47% of
households that reported paid employment, a child
is contributing to the household’s income, and 15%
reported child labor as the primary source (85% of
reported child laborers were boys). Among those girls
who were employed, 80% work in either domestic
work or agriculture, both of which are known to
be high-risk sectors for physical abuse and sexual
“In fact, adult women are only half as likely as under-age
boys to go outside their house daily. One-fifth of girls
never go outside their house, and displacement has
made it even less likely for girls to ever be allowed to
leave the house. “
“From January to April
2013, JWU social workers from nine locations across
Jordan registered 851 cases of socioeconomic abuse
(47.6%), 194 cases of exploitation (10.9%), 191 cases
of psychological abuse (10.7%), and 165 cases (11.8%) where survivors had experienced multiple forms of
“47% of households who reported paid employment within the last month reported that some or all of this income was from children.”
In Jordan, “Many participants reported that
their children were not in school, including focus
groups in which none of the family children were
attending school, and most participants cited high
transportation costs, overcrowding in schools, and
bureaucratic barriers as the main impediments.”
In Jordan, “The UPP-JWU survey indicated that only 30% of respondents 18 and older had completed secondary
school or university; 60% had only a primary school
education, and 9% were functionally illiterate. ACARE International assessment found that 80% of all persons surveyed who were above the age of 60 were illiterate.”
Reasons for not being able to attend school as listed:
“Not being registered with UNHCR and therefore
lacking proper documentation to attend school;
Bureaucratic barriers enforced or even introduced
by schools’ administrations;
Lack of outreach or information about how to
access education services;
Inability to cover schooling expenses, including
transportation to school;
Difficulty in keeping up with the local curriculum;
Inability to enroll due to overcrowding in local
High tensions with Jordanian children resulting
in severe bullying;
Protection concerns especially for young girls;
Lack of willingness to attend from Syrian parents
“Whereas men have more mobility, and cited mosques as a secure gathering place where they can connect with other men, such opportunities are not as readily available for women, girls, and boys. The limited availability of safe spaces where women can meet psychosocial service providers, spend time with other women, and let their children play in a protected environment remains a barrier to meeting the psychosocial support needs of women and children. As a result, female participants in this study often reported feeling disoriented, stressed, and isolated.”
In Jordan “…13.5% of respondents thought
that girls were excluded from health services, either
because of lack of knowledge or because of proscriptions against mixing of sexes or family constraints on
“By far, the most common reason for the exclusion of
any group from any service was a lack of knowledge
about what the service offers; this was particularly a
problem in the less educated. Problems with service
quality—including mixing between men and women,
harassment, or other inappropriate behavior from
service providers—was often cited as a significant
impediment to access in the north, while respondents
in the south were the most likely to cite “not permitted
by family” as a reason that women and girls might not
be able to access a particular service.”
Families feel increased anxiety and pressure to get protection for women and girls due to the increased risk of violating traditional sexual norms from their original homes. In Lebanon, women in refugee camps reported in focus groups that interpersonal violence increased upon arrival. For girls, early marriage rose significantly to protect girls from being raped by receiving protection of a man.
Life in a refugee camp also forces a notion of having to publicly defend yourself from being sexually abused as widows by pretending to have a man protecting you in your life. This amazingly strong dependency on having a personal male figure within a refugee camp displays the lack of autonomy women have as a result of having a poor opportunity structure.
The lives of women living in refugee camps who experience violence, do not feel safe in disclosing their abuse because of shame of adverse sexual activity causes allowing sexual cycles to progress without any interference and make it normative within a refugee camp.
There appears to be a strong association with women who are unable to fulfill their domestic jobs. The end result being married off or forced away from the family. Given the limited to no control in the domestic dwelling of a refugee camp, once women become refugees, they automatically forfeit their dominance in the private family life, in effect, losing any political power they might of had.
Given the poverty and need to have basic security of shelter, food, and water. Children, both boys and girls must work from an early age. For girls, this easily puts them in a position of vulnerability, quickly making them not marriageable or unable to return to the family if they are sexually exploited.
Because of the belief of keeping women pure and within a domestic dwelling, women and girls are usually domestic prisoners as a way to protect the family from dishonor. Given the known perpetration of these acts it makes it difficult for women to go to resources or find any source of power if they cannot even leave home.
Gender based violence seems to produce a positive feedback of more oppression. Women are forced to remain in the home and repeatedly experience sexual based violence. This allows the violence to be more normative, and consequentially, more likely to be a generational practice by family members.
Given the displacement of families in other countries, children bear the brunt of this work. For girls, they are forced to stay home to help the mother instead of getting an education because of the living and economical situation.
Tensions with the Jordanians and bullying shows an underlying psychological barrier as being perceived as alien and lesser. Additionally resources for education are limited and aren’t as well known. Predominantly, given the enrollment numbers, there is a large amount of overcrowding, making sexual abuse at school a likely possibility and giving families more reasons to not send their daughters to school.
The psychological status of women plays an important role in being able to obtain any information or resources at all, yet many women feel isolated and do not have the support to develop social networks or groups with other individuals.
Mobility of women is culturally a phenomenon where women are restricted to the house, yet as a refugee, that status is extend to what seems to be an imprisoning experience. This include being unable to provide help and resources for women.
These services provided, while they do exist, are not communicated to those in need or approved by family. Clearly, the inappropriate behavior of these service providers make women weight the economic cost of going to these locations, which often were sparse, to receive this kind of treatment. This known inappropriate behavior easily can cause family members to fear allowing a women to even go.
Given the dependency for protection by individual males and the little structural ability to handle interpersonal violence, women have to bear sexual violence from whom protects them.