‘I have a story to tell’: Researching migrant women’s experiences of female genital mutilation and gender-based violence in Ireland and Europe

Siobán O’Brien Green


This article presents insights and practical lessons learned from multiple studies the author has undertaken and participated in as principal or co-researcher and/or provided expert guidance to in Ireland and Europe. These studies primarily focus on gender-based violence (GBV) and female genital mutilation (FGM) and given their foci, have an implicit need for cognisance of child protection, legislation and onward referral procedures. The research issues of interest are often considered taboo, private, not to be discussed outside immediate family and shameful. There are multiple practical and logistical barriers, as well as language and psycho-social obstacles, to participating in, and undertaking, research on these issues. The article discusses the approaches and routes taken to recruit women affected and impacted by the issues of FGM and GBV for research studies. The responsibility on researchers to present research study findings in a sensitive manner which does not add stigma to marginalised and vulnerable groups, but that enables policy makers to utilise the research for legislative and practical purposes, is also discussed.

Keywords: gender-based violence (GBV); female genital mutilation (FGM); migration; ethics; stigma; research design

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1921/swssr.v19i3.1195


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