Editors: Annie Bunting, Allen Kiconco and Joel Quirk
Publication: This collection was published in 2020 by Beyond Trafficking and Slavery/openDemocracy in London under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 licence.
Sexual violence presents all kinds of challenges for researchers. Many survivors are reluctant to share their experiences because of the lasting effects of trauma and stigma. Researchers sometime parachute into ‘exotic’ locations, extract valuable information, and then return home to build their careers. It can also be tempting to simplify and sensationalise sexual violence, especially when it takes place in African countries which struggle to escape the effects of colonial fetishes of ‘darkness’ popularised by Joseph Conrad and many others. This collection attempts to chart a different path. Research methods cannot be divorced from research ethics. Our contributors draw upon applied examples from Uganda, Sierra Leone, Congo, and Nigeria in order to reflect upon the challenges involved in asking questions and conducting fieldwork, interacting with communities and brokers, and the layered effects of privilege and position. Whenever knowledge about sexual violence gets produced we need to inquire about the story behind its collection and dissemination. How is knowledge produced? Who benefits? Who pays? Who speaks? To what kinds of audience?