Wartime Captivity and Homecoming: Culture, Stigma and Coping Strategies of Formerly Abducted Women in Post-conflict Northern Uganda.
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One of the three durable solutions to mass displacement preferred by the UNHCR and leading humanitarian agencies is that victims return to their home communities, resulting into meaningful reintegration. It is believed that families and communities provide the best hope for recovery and reintegration post displacement due to familiarity, care and shared culture. Yet these ‘places of hope and comfort’, sometimes defined and shaped by ethnic culture and values, can also potentially provide a hostile environment in which stigma can flourish. The women formerly abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in northern Uganda find that achieving meaningful reintegration into their communities is a distant prospect despite being the home culture they once shared. The stigmatization of formerly abducted persons by the home community members who have never been abducted renders them ‘outsiders’ upon return to their home communities. Meaningful relationships with fellow community members and access to cultural, social and economic systems are hampered by stigma about the women's traumatic past episode as abductees. This experience has significant implications for these women, negotiating their journey to recovery and reintegration into home communities.
- Social Sciences