Umwana w’umugore : The gendered realities of girls born of conflict-related sexual violence and their mothers in post-genocide Rwanda

This article explores the challenges, needs and capacities of girls born of conflict-related sexual violence during the 1994 Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi. Twenty-nine interviews and 11 focus groups were conducted with girls born of genocidal rape, alongside 44 interviews with mothers of children born of genocidal rape.


In a society where Umwana w’umugore – being ‘the child of a woman’ – is considered an insult for children born of rape, gendered realities profoundly shape girls’ experiences. Data reveal that girls born of genocidal rape face challenges related to identity and belonging, multiple forms of violence and economic challenges. Moreover, girls sustain the indirect consequences of gender-based injustices committed against their mothers, making stigma and social exclusion shared and intergenerational experiences, alongside mutual care and support.


Policy development must take into account the unique needs of girls born of rape, the precarious situation of their mothers and broader gender inequalities.

Myriam Denov and Djamila Saad | 2024
In: Journal of Health Psychology ; ISSN: 1359-1053
Adolescents, Adults, Children, Diagnosis, Epidemiology, Females, Gender Issues, Genocide (en), Personal Interview, Psychotherapy, Rwanda, Sexual Harassment, Stigma, Violence