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Reference : V-P-PE-E-01039
Date : 06/2017
Country/Region : PERU
Caption : Ayacucho. This 54-year-old woman is a former president and now member of the "Asociación Nacional de Familiares de Secuestrados, Detenidos y Desaparecido del Perú" (National Association of Families of Abducted, Detained and Missing Persons of Peru, ANFASEP).
Photographer : HAMMOND, Robin
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : reserved users only
Copyright : Noor for the ICRC
Description : On the 1st of December 1983, her husband was taken by the military and never seen again. As well as losing her husband, she was displaced, tortured, and sexually assaulted during the conflict. To this day she does not know where the remains of her husband are. “During the conflict, I ended up a widow because my husband disappeared. I had to keep going for my daughter. From 1983, we had the association. I had to fulfil all the roles in my home, because before in our country, the men provided for everyone”, she says. “Because of the conflict, I became not only the mother but also the head of the family, to provide for my family. If it hadn't been for the armed conflict, I would have been like before. Perhaps my husband would have provided for us. My life changed because of the armed conflict. Because of the conflict, I became the head of the family. Because of the conflict, I had to be a brave mother. Because of the conflict, I became a human rights activist. During the conflict, I became a brave woman. I wasn't afraid anymore”, she adds. "The conflict affected me a lot. Firstly, I lost my husband. I also lost a child. I was pregnant. I had a miscarriage when they took my husband away. I was mistreated by the soldiers. When my husband went missing, I had to go back to my village in the country, the one where I was born. Where I am now is not where I was born. Because of the armed conflict, I left my village. Then, when my husband disappeared, I went back, but I couldn't be there because of what happened to me. I was tortured. So we left our village. The violence affected me a lot over the twenty years”, she explains. “Women need to make sure they are respected without using violence. We mustn't let ourselves be abused”, she adds.

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