Myanmar Health Sciences Research Journal
Volume 27, Number 3
TITLE: Application of International Ethical and Safety Guidelines on Conducting Violence against Women Research within the Myanmar Context: Lessons Learned and Ways Forward
AUTHOR: San Shwe, Stephanie Miedema & Aye Thiri Kyaw
SOURCE: Myanmar Health Sciences Research Journal, Vol. 27, No. 3, 2015
ABSTRACT: Constant reevaluation of ethical and safety guidelines for conducting sensitive research across different cultural contexts is paramount to the methodological evolution of research on violence against women. There is a growing body of rigorous research on women’s experiences of abuse, violence, discrimination and harassment around the world, including in the South and Southeast Asia region,1, 2 grounded in international ethical and safety standards.3, 4 However, limited evidence on violence against women exists in the Myanmar context. Consequently, there is little information on ethical and safety considerations for this specific setting. In Myanmar, violence against women in the general population is only now beginning to be openly recognized as a key development concern.1 Despite the historically low level of prioritization of this issue,2 researchers and academics have been documenting women’s experiences of violence and abuse for some time, predominanty within the context of medical and health research.10-12 From 2012 to 2013, the Gender Equality Network (GEN), together with Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, implemented a qualitative study on women’s experiences of intimate partner violence, to build the knowledge base of violence against women in Myanmar in line with international ethics and safety standards of violence against women research. In the context of existing literature on violence against women in Myanmar, the resulting report ‘Behind the Silence: Violence against Women and their Resilience in Myanmar’ became one of the first studies to apply rigorous methodological and ethical standards towards research on women’s experiences of abuse in Myanmar. To fully account for the above ethical and safety considerations, as well as apply international best practices, the team worked to develop clear and comprehensive guidelines and procedures for conducting ethical and safe research on violence against women in Myanmar. This included mechanisms and processes to ensure confidentiality and voluntary participation, to ensure that respect, trust and engagement with women’s stories were foremost in the implementation of the study.
SUBJECT HEADINGS: Ethics, Safety framework, VAUL