How formerly abducted women in post-conflict situations are reasserting their humanity in a hostile environment: photovoice evidence from northern Uganda

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Northern Uganda received significant international attention during and immediately after the conflict between the Government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army, in which over 20,000 women and children were abducted and trafficked. However, globally there has been little investigation into the long-term impacts on formerly abducted women in post-conflict reconstruction, or on their own efforts to improve their conditions. This article presents original photovoice evidence from 13 co-researchers; all members of the Women’s Advocacy Network, a grassroots organisation seeking to improve life in northern Uganda for women. All the co-researchers are from the Acholi ethnic group and were formerly abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army. They are all engaged in rebuilding their lives in Gulu, northern Uganda. The article seeks to present the work of the co-researchers and explores the longterm needs they identify for formerly abducted women in conflict zones. It also explores how their own experiences with abduction continues to erode the recognition of their humanity, both in terms of how they are perceived by their communities and how they view themselves, and how they are individually and collectively working to reassert their place in the moral universe.