Gendered lived experiences of marriage and family following exposure to chemical warfare agents: content analysis of qualitative interviews with survivors in Halabja, Kurdistan-Iraq

Faraidoun Moradi1, Fazil Moradi2, Mia Söderberg1, Anna-Carin Olin1, Mona Lärstad1,3

This study entitled, Gendered lived experiences of marriage and family following exposure to chemical warfare agents: Content analysis of qualitative interviews with survivors in Halabja, Kurdistan-Iraq, is part of a larger interdisciplinary inquiry carried out by scientists at the Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study, the University of Johannesburg in South Africa.

This study examines the long-term impact of chemical warfare agents by focusing on social abandonment and uncertain marriages. Exposure to chemical warfare agents (CWAs) is conceptualized in terms of stigmatized illnesses that in turn produce loneliness and social isolation, leading to negative impacts on other aspects of professional and social life. The study details how survivors of CWAs exposure have developed a sense of gendered uncertainty around getting married and building a family. It demonstrates a gendered pattern: CWAs-exposed females were more affected psychosocially than CWAs-exposed males. More CWAs-exposed females were unemployed, divorced or single, or lived under vulnerable circumstances compared to males.

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