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by Nadia Khelaifat, SPCR trainee at the University of Bristol, is completing her PhD on the needs and experiences of abused migrant women within healthcare.

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I recently attended the 2015 Annual conference of the European Network on Gender and Violence (ENGV) at the Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal. The three-day conference looked at violence which is directed against people on the basis of their gender. Researchers, professionals, feminist activists and students from many European countries attended it. The scope was diverse. The topics included current research in Portugal, gender in theory and policy, old and new challenges for policy and interventions, as well as service provision and movement. Discussions were very interesting and, at times, quite heated too.

The conference kicked off with a day dedicated to early career researchers. For this, we were asked to submit a 5-page paper raising any questions or issues we would like to discuss about our research so that the others could read and prepare them in advance. This was a great opportunity to immerse ourselves in the work of the other researchers while, at the same time, get to know each other.

The organiser of this early researcher event, Ksenia Meshkova (Humboldt University, Berlin), presented her biographical study ‘young, beautiful and abused’ on survivors of intimate partner violence from Russia. My colleague Alison Gregory (University of Bristol) presented her PhD research on the impact of domestic violence on both adult friends and relatives of survivors, asking about ways to take her work forward to create suitable interventions for them. Likewise, I was able to discuss some of my results and questions regarding the needs and experiences of abused migrant women in healthcare. We all received valuable and constructive feedback.

Thought-provoking questions raised during the remainder of the conference included:

  • Whether by treating domestic violence within the healthcare sector, it would make it purely an individual health concern rather than a societal one?
  • Whether migration decreases or reinforces the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM)?
  • Is gender disappearing in the discourse of armed conflicts since men are also raped and castrated, thereby also having an impact on their reproduction?

This conference confirmed my understanding that I have to be very careful when presenting my results so as not to make domestic violence a cultural issue.

My verdict: If you want to widen your horizons regarding gender-based violence this is the network to join and conference to attend.

The European Network on Gender and Violence is an informal group of researchers and professionals. There are no membership fees. For more information, please see: http://www.engv.org/home.html.

Obrigada (‘Thank you’ in Portuguese) for reading this!

For more information, please contact Nadia: Nadia.Khelaifat@bristol.ac.uk

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