Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is a major infringement of women’s human rights, and an obstacle to sustainable development as set out in the Sustainable Development Goals. SGBV against migrant and refugee women is widespread, but often remains invisible and under-analysed both in academic research and policy-making. This research will take an intersectional approach to understand SGBV in the context of migration, analysing the ways in which discriminations and inequalities based on gender, race, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and age, interact to make certain women more vulnerable to SGBV and less able to access support and services for survivors than others. SGBV may be exacerbated by policies aiming to restrict migration, or to increase control of borders, which can push women into adopting dangerous routes to arrive in their country of destination. Conflict and the risks of migration may also render women vulnerable to trafficking and sexual exploitation. Conditions of reception, and policies for integration in receiving countries may also lead to increased risk of SGBV for migrant and refugee women. But these women are not just “victims”, and their strategies and agency should also be explored. In sum, while we know that female migrants and refugees are particularly exposed to violence, we lack a systematic understanding of the underlying dynamics that (re)produce patterns of violence. It is this gap that the research seeks to fill in order to make policy recommendations for reducing these women’s vulnerability to SGBV and increasing their access to services.
The study is a mixed methods study drawing on country case studies, using document studies, expert interviews, and qualitative interviews and surveys of female migrants and refugees.
The project is funded by GENDER-NET Plus ERA-NET Cofund and the consortium is coordinated by Professor Jane Freedman at the Centre de recherches sociologiques et politiques de Paris. Research Professor Margunn Bjørnholt from NKVTS is principal investigator for the Norwegian part of the project.
- Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies – Margunn Bjørnholt (principal investigator), Yngvil Grøvdal, senior researcher, resarch assistants Amira Ibrahim, Camilla Nymoen, Carolina Buendia Sarmiento, Nora Starheim Ruud, Charlotte Hemmestad Ludt
- Centre de recherches sociologiques et politiques de Paris, CNRS/University of Paris 8 – Jane Freedman (principal investigator/consortium coordinator)
- Bar-Ilan University Faculty of Law – Ruth Halperin-Kaddari (principal investigator)
- National University of Ireland, Galway – Niamh Reilly (principal investigator)
- Saint Mary’s University – Evangelia Tastsoglou (principal investigator)
- University of Vienna – Sieglinde Rosenberger (principal investigator)
- Oriental Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic – Gabriela Özel Volfová (principal investigator)
See a full list of project participants on gbvmigration.cnrs.fr/members
Students are welcome to write their theses related to the project. Please contact Margunn Bjørnholt.
Completed theses within the project:
Charlotte Hemmestad-Ludt, Department of political science, University of Gothenburg: Speaking the Unspeakable: Disclosures of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence. Credibility Assessment in the Norwegian Asylum System
Carolina Buendia Sarmiento, the MA programme in Peace, Mediation and Conflict Research Developmental Psychology, Åbo Academy: Female Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Norway: Agency and Victimisation from Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
Nora Starheim Ruud, Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law, University of Oslo: Veien videre – Kvinnelige migranters handlekraft i veien ut av voldelige ekteskap