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This book is a product of a research project called ‘voices of youth’ carried out - page 99 / 125

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A Lost Generation: Young People and Conflict in Africa

chaos and destruction of the conflicts surrounding them. The oral testimony is a qualitative method that exposes lived human experience which has enabled women (and other marginalised groups such as the youth) to have a legitimate way of gathering knowledge and input their experiences in epistemological development. It enables the world to hear, see and understand an experience from a personalised account and thus learn what these girls experienced, what conflict did to them physically, psychologically, emotionally, socially and economically, because we see it from their perspective. The voices of the young people exposes the age centred and patriarchal mediation of their voices, for instance, while the world has been focusing on sexual violence against women and girls in conflict, through these testimonies we are able to see that actually, young girls are preferred targets of sexual crimes both in the fighting zones and in the IDP camps.

Framing young girls’ experiences in conflict While the Conflict in Uganda is still on-going and there currently are peace talks being negotiated, Burundi is in a post conflict period. The research in Uganda focused specifically on child mothers while the research in Burundi focused on young girls who had a ‘bush’ experience either as fighters, forced sexual slaves, forced workers and consequently child mothers. However what is interesting to note is that the types of violence they experienced were the same and so were its consequences and impact in their lives. Studies elsewhere across the continent also show that the types of violence against women and children have a gender and age dynamic to them41. Women and girls get violated and victimized just like the men and boys but this is also done in ways attached to their femaleness. The following table based on the social exclusion analysis summarises the common issues from the testimonies from Uganda and Burundi as follows;

Indicator Type of violence

Impact/result (Immediate)

Issue Sexual abuse/rape Abduction Abandonment Forced marriages

Separation from families Lack of security Trauma Exclusion by all Lack of alternatives/opportunities and choice Rights violation as children and youth Increased responsibility and vulnerability Internalize violence

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    OCHA/RN (200): Broken Dreams-Broken Bodies: Violence against women exposed

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