Female refugees escaping domestic violence seem largely invisible amongst larger groups of refugees given their unclear legal situation and dichotomously-oriented policy making. In this study, I bring together literature from the sociology of migration and gender to explore how women who experience family abuse decide to flee their countries of origin in times of political conflict and persecution. How does flight from domestic violence interact with refugee migration? What roles do macro, meso, and micro forces play in triggering and perpetuating domestic-violence related migration during times of conflict when refugee flows are ongoing? Through an analysis of twenty biographical interviews with female Chechen refugees in Poland, I argue that political conflict can be both a source of and an escape from domestic violence. I find that an ongoing conflict can strengthen the patriarchal patterns present in a community or lead to a degeneration of those customs. At the same time, for many Chechen women, the refugee flow that grew out of political conflict also facilitated a way out of abusive relationships via the possibility of international escape. This phenomenon was observed at macro, meso and micro levels.
PhD Student, Sociology
I am a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology with designated emphasis in Human Rights. Currently, my research focuses on the experiences of female refugees fleeing domestic violence in the time of political conflict. I study how different forces on micro (family dynamics), meso (social networks and institutions) and macro (political conflict, cultural norms) levels influence women’s decision to flee their abusers. Previously my work focused on the agency of rural women in Poland and Polish feminist movements.