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hidden dimensions of conflict in sri lanka case studies of war widows and wives of the disappeared n.
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Nelun Gunasekera Gender Specialist ADB SLRM October 2005 PowerPoint Presentation
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Nelun Gunasekera Gender Specialist ADB SLRM October 2005

Nelun Gunasekera Gender Specialist ADB SLRM October 2005

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Nelun Gunasekera Gender Specialist ADB SLRM October 2005

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  1. Hidden Dimensions of Conflict in Sri Lanka: Case Studies of War Widows and Wives of ‘the disappeared , Nelun Gunasekera Gender Specialist ADB SLRM October 2005

  2. War widow Sinhala Ethnic conflict Wife of ‘the disappeared’ Tamil Ethnic conflict Case Studies

  3. Social implications of widowhoodSocial implications of widowhood • 3 life stages for women – childhood, marriage, widowhood • Loss of social and cultural identity and value in society • Myths and perceptions – considered to be unlucky, social outcast, seen as unfulfilled [as opposed to being married] • Dependence on children, other family members.

  4. War widows • Female heads of households • Usually young and with young children • Social stigma • Some face rejection by in-laws • Some face issues of inheritance of husband’s property/assets/entitlements • Vulnerable to sexual exploitation • New gender roles and responsibilities • Coping with trauma of event and bereavement • lack of support services/mechanisms – for trauma, child care, economic/livelihood activities.

  5. Wives of ‘the disappeared’ - ‘the disappeared’: = another category of conflict victims – from both the Southern Insurrection [1989 – 90] and the ethnic conflict = no body/bodies are found to prove death = now after 1 yr. – the wife has legal remedies to have status as a widow and get compensation and some limited social assistance.

  6. Wives of ‘the disappeared’ contd. - de facto head of household - usually with young children • ambiguous social status • inability to perform rituals/funeral rites to demonstrate transfer of civil status from wife to widow • Trauma of loss and uncertainty • Lack of closure

  7. Wives of ‘the disappeared’ contd. • Recasting of gender roles and responsibilities – uncertainty of temporary ore permanent situation • Coping with changed social status and social stigma • Lack of definite social identity and status • Vulnerable to sexual exploitation • Specificity of situation unrecognized. ---------