War, gender and culture: Mozambican women refugees

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Sideris, Tina


Social Science & Medicine (1982), Volume 56, p.713–724 (2003)


Adaptation, Adult, Culture, Female, Gender Identity, Humans, Mozambique, Post-Traumatic, Psychological, Psychology, Rape, Refugees, Social, South Africa, Stress Disorders, Survivors, War Crimes, Women's Health


Analyses of the psychological sequelae of war-related violence for women tend to rely on the concepts developed in research on male combatants. Post-traumatic stress disorder or varying combinations of its symptoms are identified as the principal outcomes of war-related events for women. By and large, the dominant literature does not examine possible outcomes which could be specified by gender. This paper refers to the war in Mozambique during the 1970s and 1980s as a typical illustration of how women are an integral part of the battlefield. It draws on research on African women and uses testimony of Mozambican women refugees who settled in South Africa to explore how gender is linked to psycho-social outcomes of massive social conflict. The paper argues that a richer understanding of the psycho-social outcomes of war and the needs of survivors is promoted by investigating gender in specific historical situations and how this frames the responses people have to experiences of violence and social destruction.

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