“God helped us”: resilience, religion and experiences of gender-based violence and trafficking among African forced migrant women

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Abstract

In this article, I explore how faith and religion shaped the resilience of forced migrant women subjected to intersecting gender-based violence (GBV) and trafficking. Adopting a social constructivist perspective, I draw upon interviews with 11 Christian and 4 Muslim displaced survivors of 10 African nationalities temporarily residing in Tunisia. I first outline the experiences of intersecting violence to understand what displaced survivors were resilient to, and then describe faith pathways to resilience, sometimes with spiritual struggles and unmet religious needs. I delineate ways in which personal prayers and cooperating with God enabled all but one survivor to cope with exploitation and perilous journeys toward imagined refuge. I offer insights for practitioners working with forced migrants on the move and highlight the importance of spiritual support for displaced survivors who are religious. I discuss the findings and offer implications for future research and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Article number201
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Sciences
Volume11
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The University of Birmingham School of Social Policy’s PhD Scholarship.Islamic Relief Canada’s grant for project: “Developing a Faith Sensitive Psycho-Social Response to Trauma” covered fieldwork costs.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the author. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • coping
  • faith
  • gender
  • intersecting
  • migration
  • refugee
  • religion
  • resilience
  • sexual
  • trafficking
  • violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies

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