Bodies of Evidence: Conceptualizations of Rupture and Repair with Survivors of Sexual Violence in Guatemala

Authors: Rebecca Patterson-Markowitz*, University of Arizona - Geography & Development
Topics: Social Geography, Cultural Geography, Women
Keywords: justice, healing, feminist geopolitics, Guatemala, embodiment
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Ambassador Ballroom, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper seeks to apply feminist political geography to questions of repair in post-conflict Guatemala by attending to two separate but related themes. First, I will consider how a consortium of non-governmental organizations in Guatemala collaborating with women survivors of sexual violence at the intersection of legal justice, psychology, and women and indigenous rights talk about embodiment in relation to lingering memories of harm. Second, I will consider the different kinds of knowledges about embodied harm and embodied repair, and how they imply different conceptualizations of space. This paper draws on fieldwork conducted in June-August of 2017, with psychologists, lawyers and community health workers. The collaborations of these actors with each other and survivor groups have yielded created pathways to different kinds of justice that include winning a strategic court case, “Sepur Zarco” a landmark case on sexual slavery, in Guatemala’s national court. I conclude by reflecting on the broader implications of feminist political geographic engagements with embodiment into conversation with post-conflict studies.

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