We explore trauma, sexual violence and discursive discrepancies on 'FGM' among female migrants living in diaspora. What happens during the process of re-viewing and re-defining such experiences and what kinds of actions are taken to re-create one's gender or ethnic identity?
Some female migrants residing in the EU have experienced practices, whether in their countries of origin or during the migration process, which are classified as forms of sexual violence according to international conventions (e.g. 'female genital mutilation', early and forced marriage, (marital)-rape and sexual violence). However, not all of these experiences are perceived as "violence" by women themselves until they have settled in the EU. In this panel, we would like to explore such discursive discrepancies between countries of origin and European host countries regarding FGC and/or sexual violence. We will discuss implications of such differences in the institutional framing of these practices, and the different ways in which individuals reflect upon their experiences during asylum procedures or in accessing support services. What happens when women reinterpret or come to recognize their experiences in terms of violence and/or abuse? How do their conceptions of the body, of kin and customs change when they are confronted with these discourses in the EU? In what ways do women who redefine what happened to them as violence change the structures of their relationships? How do they juggle the conflicting expectations of family back home in contrast to the ways of life, laws and demands in their European host country? What actions are taken to re-create gender or ethnic identities and which are the discourses and structural elements underpinning these re-creations? How are these discrepancies perceived or negotiated by other stakeholders or service providers (e.g. police, social workers, medical personnel)?