Lecture     Series: Exiled to Nowhere: A Symposium on the Rohingya Crisis

Sexual and Gender Based Violence: The Case of Rohingya Women and Girls

Free and open to the public
Sunday, April 7, 2019
2PM – 3:30PM

  • Free
  • Researchers
  • Teachers

Portland State University Smith Memorial Student Union, Room 333
1825 SW Broadway
Portland, Oregon 97201
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Event Type: LectureAudience(s): Researchers, TeachersLocation: Portland

Dr. Gwen Mitchell and Aerlyn Pfeil discuss their experiences working with Rohingya women and the impact of sexual violence in conflict environments. The conversation will examine obstacles Rohingya women and girls face in seeking justice, accountability, and protection given their current status as stateless people. They will also go into the impacts that these experiences will have for generations to come and the positive role Rohingya women have as providers of support, hope, healing and resilience within their communities.

Ability Accommodation Information

This event provides the following accommodations:

  • Handicap Accessible

This program is presented as part of Exiled to Nowhere: A Symposium on the Rohingya Crisis. For decades, the Rohingya people of Burma have faced systematic discrimination and targeted violence by the Burmese government. They have been stripped of their citizenship, forced from their homes, and denied basic human rights. In August 2017, the Burmese military launched a clearance operation forcing over 700,000 Rohingya to flee into Bangladesh. In the face of extreme persecution, and despite the efforts of the Myanmar government to erase them, the Rohingya continue to show a face of resiliency and courage in their desire for peace, justice, and accountability.

This symposium brings together survivors, activists, and internationally renowned experts to foster a better understanding of the crisis and explore possible paths forward. The symposium will be centered on the photography exhibit Exiled to Nowhere by documentary photographer Greg Constantine. This exhibit documents not only the plight of the Rohingya and how the tactics taken over time have led to the near destruction of this community, but also shows how, in spite of all that has been done to destroy them, the Rohingya continue to find a way to survive and persevere regardless of the ground beneath their feet.

Aerlyn Pfeil is a certified professional midwife and sexual violence program consultant from Portland, Oregon. She has been practicing midwifery since 1999 and joined MSF in 2011. She has worked in maternal health programs in South Sudan, Haiti, Senegal, the Somali region of Ethiopia, and Papua New Guinea. Aerlyn has been an active association member since joining MSF and was recently elected to the board. She holds a BA in sociology from Whitman College and a BS in midwifery and a degree in global health from the University of Manchester.

Dr. Gwen Vogel Mitchell is an Assistant Professor and Field Placement Director for the International Disaster Psychology M.A. program at the University of Denver. She is a licensed clinical psychologist in the State of Colorado, where she also maintains a private practice. Dr. Mitchell has worked for many years as a trainer, consultant, and program developer for humanitarian organizations including Medecins Sans Frontiers, and the Center for Victims of Torture and the Open Society Foundation in various locations including Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Jordan, Myanmar, Thailand, and Bosnia. She also provided support for a global evaluation of UNHCR's mental health and psychosocial support for humanitarian staff and was a member of a UNICEF technical work group focused on child protection inside Myanmar. She played a part in the development of a mental health policy for the country of Liberia and has developed programming for marginalized groups including People Living with HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ communities, former political prisoners and torture survivors.