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Reference : V-P-PE-E-01035
Date : 18/06/2017
Country/Region : PERU
Caption : Satipo. During the armed conflict, this woman was the community president of an area heavily affected by violence. She was personally affected when her 15-year-old son was taken by the armed group. He was never seen again.
Photographer : HAMMOND, Robin
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : reserved users only
Copyright : Noor for the ICRC
Description : She supported the establishment of self-defense committees, which were created by local community members, and given weapons by the military to protect themselves. In addition to helping to protect her community, among other social initiatives, she ensured the education of her people by establishing a school and supported them economically by starting a fish farm.
"During the armed violence, I was a leader and still am. I was also a victim of the violence because I lost my son when he was just 15", she says. "You always remember. A mother never forgets her child, when you don't know where they are. You can find peace when you know they are dead or when you can bury them. But when you know nothing, you suffer", she adds. "There are many ways to bring about change, but hurting people, taking them away and killing them is not one of them. Whatever they say, they're killers. I'm not only a victim because of my son but also because of my nephews, my sister's son, my brother's son. All of my relatives, my cousins, sisters. I'm a double victim. At the beginning, it was very difficult. I was discriminated against for being a woman. But I fought harder than the men. I moved forward alone and the leaders followed. They respected me because they could see what I was. They even said to me, "You're a warrior". I lost my son, so I didn't care if they killed me or not. I didn't care about my life. I would go and confront the soldiers, the police, the patrollers. I'd say, ‘If they kill me, they kill me. I lost my son’. During the war I was a leader for my people. I was a victim because of my family and I was a political fighter”, she explains.

ICRC web site, article of 11.10.2018: Women and war. Men make war; women live with the consequences. At least that is the way it is largely perceived.

Women live and react to those consequences, but they are hardly passive victims. They grieve, they fight against the suffering, and many find they are forced to re-invent themselves, shedding an old identity and forging a new one shaped by war.
A new feature by National Geographic, supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross, takes a closer look at how women react to and deal with the disruption that conflict brings to family and work life.
In the project, A Woman's War, we break open the stereotype of "women as victim" and explore the multiple, complex, sometimes conflicting roles women play in conflict: fighters, humanitarians, mothers, daughters, laborers, community leaders and survivors.
"I believe that women are agents for change. I believe that women are major sources of stability in conflict-affected areas and that they hold together not only their families but their communities," said Mary Werntz, the deputy director of operations at the International Committee of the Red Cross. "My hope is that we all, humanitarians included, are able to look at women in their complete forms and not just as victims of something."
The lives documented are diverse. Photographer Robin Hammond visited a war he knows well – Iraq – as well as conflicts that seldom make global headlines, in the Philippines and southern Nigeria. Identities continue to be shaped by war even when the guns falls silent, so Hammond also travelled to Peru to see old scars that have not yet healed.
Working on gender is complex. It combines power and privilege, community rituals and expectations. Conflict tends to exacerbate existing inequalities. What happens when the family bread winner – often a male – goes off to war or is killed by the violence? Societal roles shift; women may be given an opportunity they previously didn't have.
"I think in many conflict situations women are forced into being the ones in charge of the family," Werntz said. "Women may have to take care of the agricultural areas. They may have to move into the work force. They have to look after the kids' education."

Resolution : 6192x8256
Orientation : portrait
Colour/B&W : colour