About the project – University of Copenhagen

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About the project 'The Impact of Violence on Reproductive Health in Tanzania and Vietnam'

Aims

The overall project aim is to enhance the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women living in low-income settings through enhanced health sector responses to intimate partner violence. The immediate aims are:

  1. To generate new knowledge about the pathways by which intimate partner violence impacts sexual and reproductive health through interdisciplinary research carried out in reproductive health facilities and local communities in Tanzania and Vietnam, with a view to analyze more general connections between violence, gender, and health.
  2. To identify key elements of a systematic approach to improve sexual/reproductive health care services for women experiencing violence from an intimate partner.
  3. To enhance research capacity among sexual and reproductive health researchers in Tanzania and Vietnam with particular emphasis on the strengthening of interdisciplinary research skills.
  4. To improve research collaboration among the involved countries, with a particular view to stronger South-South collaboration in sexual/reproductive health research.

Approaches

The project assumes that in order to analyze and address persistent global health problems such as those associated with gender-based violence, interdisciplinary and comparative approaches are needed.

Since most existing studies on the associations between violence and sexual/reproductive health have been conducted as cross-sectional surveys, there is a lack of knowledge about the social processes through which violence is ingrained in human bodies and in the minutiae of daily living. In response to this situation, this project combines the power of epidemiology to analyze distributions of ill health across populations with the capacity of ethnography to document how health and life problems are experienced, interpreted, and acted upon by human beings. This interdisciplinary approach aims to enable the researchers to document the magnitude of the sexual/reproductive health problems associated with gender-based violence while also reflecting critically on the more general socio-cultural, ethical, existential, and political issues which partner violence engages.

Starting from field research conducted in Tanzania and Vietnam, the project takes a comparative approach to the analysis of gender-based violence. Since gender is a fundamental social and cognitive category in all societies, intimate partner violence is often intertwined with basic and naturalized tenets of social life. Its association with the normal and taken-for-granted often renders this form of violence relatively invisible socially and therefore more difficult to assess and address. In this context, a comparative perspective is important. By comparing and contrasting research findings from two socially and culturally different settings, this project aims to render invisible forms of violence socially visible through analyses that de-naturalize the gendered social structures in which partner violence is embedded.