The talk will explore responses to rape in the Acholi sub-region of northern Uganda. Based on five years field work living in northern Uganda  and in-depth interviews with almost 200 women, issues examined lie at the intersection of two ongoing discussions in scholarship and practice: wrongdoing and justice, and sexual violence and rape.

The research presented adds empirical, locally-grounded, and culturally specific evidence in support of a more complicated and nuanced explanation of rape and its aftermath than is familiar in the analytical/normative frameworks familiar in post-atrocity justice debates or anti-rape feminist activist discourse.  It suggests reimagining the meanings of these phenomena along lived continuums: before, during and after war; and acknowledging the role of sex, power and politics in all sexual experiences in a complex field of human experience between coercion and enthusiastic consent.


Holly Porter is lead researcher for northern Uganda of the Justice & Security Research Programme at the London School of Economics’ Department of International Development. Her research focuses on gender, sexual violence, and local conceptions of healing and justice in northern Uganda where she has lived and worked since 2005. She has also worked in South Sudan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Azerbaijan, and Palestine in the fields of access to justice, gender-based violence, and human rights. She holds a PhD from LSE.