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The Center for Refugee and Disaster Relief


Anjalee Kohli
Goodermote Humanitarian Award Scholarship, 2012

Anjalee Kohli
Anjalee Kohili with Sam Waterston (l) and Dean Goodermote (r)

About this year's recipient's work
Sexual violence in conflict settings throughout the world is increasing. It is considered a war crime, a crime against humanity and a constitutive act with respect to genocide. Sexual violence not only leaves women and girls vulnerable to physical and psychological harm, economic loss, and stigma and discrimination, it also impacts family and community relations, and often results in the rejection of survivors. Rejection leaves female survivors of sexual violence responsible to care for themselves, and their kids, in settings where individuals function as part of a family and community. Family and community rejection can impact the physical, mental, economic and social health of the survivor and her children.

Formative research conducted in Walungu Territory (DRC) in 2010 with survivors, their spouses and community leaders illustrated how rejection from family is a leading concern in rural DRC and a priority for intervention. Yet, limited information is available on which factors increase or decrease risk for rejection and how rejection affects health. This study builds on partnerships with local Congolese organizations: Foundation RamaLevina and PAIDEK to understand rejection, its relationship with mental health and local descriptions of reintegration into families and communities. Specifically, this study has the following three aims: 

  1. quantify the association between sexual violence associated risk and protective factors for family rejection
  2. quantify the association between family rejection and mental health problems; and
  3. describe, in-depth, risk and protective factors.

Results from this study will be used to inform interventions and research. Support from the Goodermote Humanitarian Award Scholarship will be used to conduct this study including developing materials and conducting interviews and to ensure that this study contributes to intervention design.

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