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      Decolonising violence against women research: a study design for co-developing violence prevention interventions with communities in low and middle income countries (LMICs)


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          There has been substantial progress in research on preventing violence against women and girls (VAWG) in the last 20 years. While the evidence suggests the potential of well-designed curriculum-based interventions that target known risk factors of violence at the community level, this has certain limitations for working in partnership with communities in low- and middle-income (LMIC) countries, particularly when it comes to addressing the power dynamics embedded within north-south research relationships.


          As an alternative approach, we outline the study design for the EVE Project: a formative research project implemented in partnership with community-based researchers in Samoa and Amantaní (Peru) using a participatory co-design approach to VAWG prevention research. We detail the methods we will use to overcome the power dynamics that have been historically embedded in Western research practices, including: collaboratively defining and agreeing research guidelines before the start of the project, co-creating theories of change with community stakeholders, identifying local understandings of violence to inform the selection and measurement of potential outcomes, and co-designing VAWG prevention interventions with communities.


          Indigenous knowledge and ways of thinking have often been undermined historically by Western research practices, contributing to repeated calls for better recognition of Southern epistemologies. The EVE Project design outlines our collective thinking on how to address this gap and to further VAWG prevention through the meaningful participation of communities affected by violence in the research and design of their own interventions. We also discuss the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the project in ways that have both disrupted and expanded the potential for a better transfer of power to the communities involved. This article offers specific strategies for integrating Southern epistemologies into VAWG research practices in four domains: ethics, theories of change, measurement, and intervention design. Our aim is to create new spaces for engagement between indigenous ways of thinking and the evidence that has been established from the past two decades of VAWG prevention research and practice.

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          Most cited references 42

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          A phenomenological hermeneutical method for researching lived experience.

          This study describes a phenomenological hermeneutical method for interpreting interview texts inspired by the theory of interpretation presented by Paul Ricoeur. Narrative interviews are transcribed. A naïve understanding of the text is formulated from an initial reading. The text is then divided into meaning units that are condensed and abstracted to form sub-themes, themes and possibly main themes, which are compared with the naïve understanding for validation. Lastly the text is again read as a whole, the naïve understanding and the themes are reflected on in relation to the literature about the meaning of lived experience and a comprehensive understanding is formulated. The comprehensive understanding discloses new possibilities for being in the world. This world can be described as the prefigured life world of the interviewees as configured in the interview and refigured first in the researcher's interpretation and second in the interpretation of the readers of the research report. This may help the readers refigure their own life.
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            Perceptions and Experiences of Research Participants on Gender-Based Violence Community Based Survey: Implications for Ethical Guidelines

            Objective To explore how survey respondents perceived their experiences and the impact of participating in a survey, and to assess adverse consequences resulting from participation. Design Qualitative study involving purposefully selected participants who had participated in a household-based survey. Methods This qualitative study was nested within a survey that investigated the prevalence of gender-based violence perpetration and victimization with adult men and women in South Africa. 13 male- and 10 female-in-depth interviews were conducted with survey respondents. Results A majority of informants, without gender-differences, perceived the survey interview as a rare opportunity to share their adverse and or personal experiences in a 'safe' space. Gender-differences were noted in reporting perceptions of risks involved with survey participation. Some women remained fearful after completing the survey, that should breach of confidentiality or full survey content disclosure occur, they may be victimized by partners as a punishment for survey participation without men's approval. A number of informants generally discussed their survey participation with others. However, among women with interpersonal violence history or currently in abusive relationships, full survey content disclosure was done with fear; the partner responses were negative, and few women reported receiving threatening remarks but none reported being assaulted. In contrast no man reported adverse reaction by others. Informants with major life adversities reported that the survey had made them to relive the experiences causing them sadness and pain at the time. No informant perceived the survey as emotionally harmful or needed professional support because of survey questions. Rather the vast majority perceived benefit from survey participation. Conclusion Whilst no informant felt answering the survey questions had caused them emotional or physical harm, some were distressed and anxious, albeit temporarily. Research protocols need to put in place safeguards where appropriate so that this group receives support and protection.
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              Critical bioethics: beyond the social science critique of applied ethics.

              This article attempts to show a way in which social science research can contribute in a meaningful and equitable way to philosophical bioethics. It builds on the social science critique of bioethics present in the work of authors such as Renee Fox, Barry Hoffmaster and Charles Bosk, proposing the characteristics of a critical bioethics that would take social science seriously. The social science critique claims that traditional philosophical bioethics gives a dominant role to idealised, rational thought, and tends to exclude social and cultural factors, relegating them to the status of irrelevancies. Another problem is they way in which bioethics assumes social reality divides down the same lines/categories as philosophical theories. Critical bioethics requires bioethicists to root their enquiries in empirical research, to challenge theories using evidence, to be reflexive and to be sceptical about the claims of other bioethicists, scientists and clinicians. The aim is to produce a rigorous normative analysis of lived moral experience.

                Author and article information

                BMC Public Health
                BMC Public Health
                BMC Public Health
                BioMed Central (London )
                15 June 2021
                15 June 2021
                : 21
                [1 ]GRID grid.83440.3b, ISNI 0000000121901201, Institute for Global Health, , University College London, ; London, UK
                [2 ]GRID grid.488640.6, ISNI 0000 0004 0483 4475, Te Papa Museum, ; Wellington, New Zealand
                [3 ]GRID grid.449380.2, ISNI 0000 0001 0823 7860, National University of Samoa, ; Apia, Samoa
                [4 ]Hampi Consultores en Salud, Lima, Peru
                [5 ]GRID grid.10800.39, ISNI 0000 0001 2107 4576, Department of Anthropology, , San Marcos University, ; San Marcos, Peru
                [6 ]GRID grid.11100.31, ISNI 0000 0001 0673 9488, Cayetano Heredia University, ; Lima, Peru
                © The Author(s) 2021

                Open AccessThis article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100000265, Medical Research Council;
                Award ID: MR/S033629/1
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                © The Author(s) 2021


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