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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/31951

Title: Surviving the Sasachacuy Tiempu [Difficult Times]: The Resilience of Quechua Women in the Aftermath of the Peruvian Armed Conflict
Authors: Suarez, Eliana
Advisor: Williams, Charmaine
Department: Social Work
Keywords: resilience
posttrauma responses
political violence
indigenous women
gender based violence
Issue Date: 11-Jan-2012
Abstract: Resilience and post trauma responses often coexist, however, for the past decades, the trauma paradigm has served as the dominant explanatory framework for human suffering in post-conflict environments, while the resilience of individuals and communities affected by mass violence has not been given equal prominence. Consequently, mental health interventions in post-conflict zones often fail to respond to local realities and are ill equipped to foster local strengths. Drawing primarily from trauma, feminist and structural violence theories, this study strengthens understanding of adult resilience to traumatic exposure by examining the resilience of Quechua women in the aftermath of the political violence in Peru (1980-2000), and their endurance of racially and gender-targeted violence. The study uses a cross sectional survey to examine the resilience and posttraumatic responses of 151 Quechua women. Participants were recruited from an urban setting and three rural villages in Ayacucho, Peru. The study examines the associations between resilience, past exposure to violence, current life stress and post-trauma related symptoms as well as the individual and community factors associated with the resilience of Quechua women. In doing so, this study makes a unique contribution by simultaneously examining posttraumatic responses and resilience in a post-conflict society, an area with a dearth of research. Results indicate that resilience was not associated with overall posttraumatic stress related symptoms, but instead higher resilience was associated with lower level of avoidance symptoms and therefore with lesser likelihood of chronic symptoms. Findings also demonstrate that enhanced resilience was associated with women’s participation in civic associations, as well as being a returnee of mass displacement. Lower resilience was instead associated with lower levels of education, absence of income generated from a formal employment and the experience of sexual violence during the conflict. These results were triangulated with qualitative findings, which show that work, family, religion, and social participation are enhancing factors of resilience. The study highlights the courage and resilience of Quechua women despite persistent experiences of everyday violence. The importance to situate trauma and resilience within historical processes of oppression and social transformation as well as other implications for social work practice and research are discussed.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/31951
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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