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Cascading effects - Mediating the unutterable sufferance of gender-based violence in migratory flows

Publication Illustration
Denise Filmer
Taylor & Francis
Year of Publication

As global migration flows have intensified in recent years, so a consequential increase in human trafficking has emerged. Most of the detected victims are females – adult women and girls – comprising 70% of the total victims between 2014–2016 (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2016). An overwhelming majority of women are subjected to torture, sexual abuse, and rape along their journey or are forced to prostitution to pay for their migration (UNSMIL, 2018).

The negative effects on the victim’s mental, physical, and sexual health result in considerable implications for the health and psychosocial services in refugee settings in the receiving countries. Few studies have highlighted the problem of violence against refugee women; even fewer have focused on the issues surrounding how communication takes place between the victims of gender-based violence (GBV) and social actors during cross-cultural and inter-linguistic interaction.

This chapter presents the results of a small-scale survey of the linguistic, cultural and psychological support offered to the arrivals in Sicily for female migrants who cross the Mediterranean Sea. The contribution focuses on how intercultural mediators and operators working in the province of Ragusa portray their experience of European and Italian institutions’ language policies supporting interlingual communication in such circumstances.