Reintegration of Children Born of Wartime Rape
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Children born of wartime rape, and their mothers, are often stigmatised by their own communities, due to their associations with political, ethnic or religious enemies. Their identity and sense of belonging are contested, which creates dangers for their physical security and emotional wellbeing. Children born of wartime rape are at risk of violence, abuse, abandonment, discrimination and marginalisation, at the hands of both families and communities. They often have less access to community resources, family protection and education or livelihood activities, and are likely to grow up in poverty. They can face challenges in registering their birth and their right to citizenship. The experiences of children born of wartime rape can result in a lifetime of detrimental consequences, and the stigmatisation they experience has continued long into the post war period. Their experiences differ as a result of gender, perceived ethnicity, social and economic status, as well as structural gender discrimination, especially in patriarchal and patrilineal societies. This rapid literature review looks at some of the available evidence on the experiences of children born of wartime rape in several different countries (Bosnia, Rwanda, Uganda, and Iraq) and lessons learned from efforts to support and reintegrate them into communities. However, specific efforts to support and reintegrate children born of wartime rape have been scarce. Such efforts suggest the importance of supporting mothers; the need for supported disclosure; the importance of strategies for constructing a positive identity; the importance of being with others in similar situations; the need for access to education; the possibility of tracing paternal relatives; the need for community sensitisation and stigma reduction; the need to clarify the legal status of children born of wartime rape; the need to have programmes which don’t single them out to detrimental effect; and the need for their involvement in post-conflict transitional justice mechanisms.
CitationRohwerder, B. (2019). Reintegration of children born of wartime rape. K4D Helpdesk Report 628. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.
Is part of seriesK4D Helpdesk Report;628
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