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Arms to Fight, Arms to Protect: Women Speak out about Conflict

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Olivia Bennett (ed)
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The survival struggles of ordinary women - whether as fighters, rape survivors, camp inhabitants, mothers or peacemakers - are highlighted in the accounts of conflict situations covered in this report. As part of the process of compiling testimonies, the authors set up partnerships with interested women's groups in different countries. Workshop discussions and training courses were held with local women, who later shaped and constructed the interviews themselves. The women did not just record events - they also documented their perceptions and understandings of their experiences. Interviewees spoke of their survival strategies, such as selling their bodies for food and becoming combatants. The testimonies cover a diverse range of experiences including from Liberia, Eritrea, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Sri Lanka, India and Vietnam. The report's gender analysis combines the methodology of oral testimony with a critical exploration of gendered power in situations of armed conflict.