Topic:This research project looked at the experience of post-settlement for South Sudanese Australian women through their narratives of pre-arrival, settlement and post-settlement. These three stages spoke to the major theme of the research, which was the impact of the widespread, gendered violence of the second civil war in Sudan - including mass slavery, sexual violence and displacement.
Of the key findings, one was the way in which older women experienced belonging in Australia as embodied - after finding safety, security and medical care during settlement. However, for women who did not achieve literacy, in post-settlement, that sense of belonging is lost to the poverty of long-term welfare dependency. This poses serious concerns for the mental health and wellbeing of a largely invisible group of migrant women.
Speaker:Dr Maher is a Criminologist and adjunct Research Fellow at Monash Migration and Inclusion Centre and her research is built on a previous career in the refugee settlement sector in Melbourne. Her fifteen-year professional engagement with the South Sudanese Australian community led to her doctoral research.
Sara’s research interests include post-settlement for former refugee women, the gendered-impacts of state crime during war, the oral histories of forced migrations, transnationality and diasporas, and the criminalisation of migrant youth.
Sara created the Anyikool Project; the oral histories of South Sudanese women elders which is now part of the oral archive of the State Library of Victoria. She is also a Churchill Fellow, a Board member of the Society of South Sudanese Professionals Australia and has recently published her first novel, to do with migration and settlement, called Blinding the Ghost’s Eye.