Project update: Understanding Women's Struggles for Justice, Healing & Redress

"… [I am] old, without suffering, without fear and without shame. Today I am capable of doing all that I can. I am like a bird. I can fly with large wings."

-Chuj Maya woman, July 2011

Over the past year, as part of the on-going SSHRC- and IDRC-funded project "Understanding Women's Struggles for Justice, Healing and Redress: A study of gender and reparation in postwar Guatemala", the following activities were realized:

 Principal investigator Alison Crosby and research collaborator M. Brinton Lykes published an article in the International Journal of Transitional Justice, "Mayan women survivors speak: The gendered relations of truth-telling in postwar Guatemala" (Vol. 5, pp.456-476), which has been translated into Spanish for dissemination in Guatemala and Latin America more generally.

They also contributed a chapter entitled "Feminist Practice of Action and Community Research," in the research handbook Feminist Research Practice: A Primer (Second Edition), edited by Sharlene Hesse-Biber (Thousand Oaks: SAGE publications, in press) and a chapter entitled "Creative methodologies as a resource for Mayan women's protagonism" in the upcoming book Trauma, Development and Peacebuilding: Towards an integrated psychosocial approach edited by Brandon Hamber (in press) (and which will also be available soon in Spanish).

Research partner the National Union of Guatemala Women (UNAMG) produced a series of popular education materials based on the Tribunal of Conscience for Women Survivors of Sexual Violence held in March 2010.

Professor Crosby received an additional two-year grant from IDRC for the project.

As the project enters its final year, the research team continues to facilitate workshops using creative techniques such as art, dramatization and storytelling with groups of Mayan women survivors of sexual violence during the armed conflict to understand their conception of reparation, as well as to conduct ongoing interviews and discussion groups with key stakeholders. (Professor Crosby presented a seminar on this work for CERLAC in March 2012.)

A series of research dissemination and evaluation activities are planned for 2013, including a 'radionovela' on Mayan women's access to alternative mechanisms of justice which is being produced in several Mayan languages, and will be ready for broadcast on community radio stations in Guatemala in 2013.