Research Group Conversations: Task #2

Research Group Conversations: Task #2

This week I was able to discuss my research project ideas with Taylor. I know that my research is looking to cover young women in Sri Lanka that have been raped or sexually abused, however, it was hard for me to come up with a clear “research question” that would be my entire focus for the project.

My research proposal from last semester aimed to cover women’s roles in Sri Lanka and how they changed because of events like the civil war and the tsunami. However, after my internship with Sarvodaya, I started becoming more interested in young women who have been sexually abused. I met Maraliya Bakker, a student from Amsterdam who is doing a study on why some rape victims experience posttraumatic stress disorder and why others don’t. I was able to assist her in her study by visiting women’s centers and being open to the information that were willing to share with us. It was after visiting all of these centers that made me realize I was really interested in knowing more about young women who have been raped and are using whatever resources they have to pick up their life again.

So as I was looking into what my research would specifically be about, I thought about the things I knew/found out about on the trip:

  • Seems like current status of women in Sri Lankan society makes them more vulnerable to rape incidents
  • What Sri Lankan culture and society don’t provide results in the vulnerability of women and them getting raped
  • For men, sex is one of their “basic needs”
  • For women, it is a duty to submit to their husbands desire for sex even if it’s not consensual
  • A lot of women are not aware of what sex or rape is. Some rape victims have even said they thought it was normal for their uncle or father to do that to them.

With all of these thoughts considered, it is challenging for me to know what basis of study I should cover. Should I use past events within Sri Lanka’s history, like the civil war and the tsunami, to understand how these events have led to the displacement of women and how this could relate to the increase in rape incidents? Should I look at the attitudes towards women in Sri Lanka and how these attitudes lay down a structure for who women are and how they can be mistreated? Should I look at intervention/prevention programs like the women’s centers and see how their resources have benefitted their participants? There are so many different angles I could choose when looking at this topic of raped women in Sri Lanka.

These are some questions that Taylor and I went through and discussed as we tried to narrow down my research topic. I am still in the process of figuring out the best angle to take with my research but I am hoping that I will soon come to a solid research question.

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