Roxanne Krystalli discusses gender and armed groups in The Washington Post

March 2016

On March 24, 2016, Roxanne Krystalli published a piece in The Washington Post, discussing what conversations on armed groups and violence miss when they do not incorporate a gender analytical perspective. Krystalli focused on what gender analysis can highlight about the experiences of women combatants in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Among other issues, Krystalli points out that relationships in the FARC can be transactional, that there are limits to the FARC’s proclamations of gender equality, and that there are gendered restrictions on women’s ability to have children or parent within the group. She also reflects on how the limited inclusion of women in peace processes affects the design of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration programs. Krystalli concludes:

Stories reporting on the anthropology of everyday life during conflict and within armed groups can illuminate the full range of members’ experience — or can erase their realities. For instance, while it’s important to recognize that women and girls have been part of the FARC, those who tell their stories and who craft the peace must understand their complex and diverse motives and experiences. Similarly, research has shown us that the twin categories of “perpetrator” and “victim” of violence aren’t neatly separated: The same person may have been simultaneously committing violence and a victim of it.

You can read the full article here.

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