City Research Online

Survivors of conflict-related sexual violence: Narratives from a small group of Kosovar-Albanian females in Kosovo

Vitija, S. (2022). Survivors of conflict-related sexual violence: Narratives from a small group of Kosovar-Albanian females in Kosovo. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Sexual violence has been a part of wars and political conflicts since the beginning of time. Rape and other forms of sexual violence have been utilised systematically in contemporary armed conflicts to administer maximal physical, psychological, cultural and social harm. These atrocities and human rights infringements have only recently evoked an imperative global discussion. The acts of sexual violence have principally been understood to be innate contingencies attributed to a male biological drive. This impeded an extensive inquest into the meanings and operations of cumulative sexual violence demonstrated on women. This qualitative investigation centres around how Kosovar-Albanian females construct and make sense of their experiences of sexual violence circa 23 years post war Kosovo. This study has a particular interest in how various forms of identity are negotiated in light of survivors experiences and the impact of their experiences on their intra-psychic and inter-personal relationships within a socio-political and cultural context. This research presents phenomenological data gathered in Kosovo among survivors of rape and sexual violence and the study methods included a critical narrative analysis of 7 semi-structured interviews.

The data yielded from this research was explored through a multivariant theoretical lens, which included aspects of feminism, psychology, sociology, and politics. The findings from this psychological investigation indicated that systemic use of rape and sexual violence in war or political conflict harmed the physical and psychological existence of Kosovar-Albanian women, seriously damaging intra psychic and inter-personal relationships and compromising personal and collective identity. It was concluded that sexual violence against women acquires a symbolic meaning and should be examined within the context of the body politics and gender systems. The discoveries made by this research investigation evoked further discussion regarding social and political implications for the realm of Counselling Psychology and our moral obligations to humanity at large. In addition to contributions towards therapeutic theory and practice, and developments for future investigations.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
J Political Science
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Vitija Thesis 2023_Redacted PDF-A.pdf]
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