Projet de recherche

Sarah el Guendi, Winner of the 2023 "Gender and Health" research prize from the Femmes Sciences committee


Ⓒ Aurore Delsoir

Sarah El Guendi, a researcher in the Department of Criminology at the University of Liège, has been awarded the second 'Gerne et Santé' Research Prize for 2023 by the Femmes Sciences Committee. The prize was awarded in recognition of her research work on her doctoral dissertation, entitled "Sortir de l'emprise d'une temporalité à l'autre - Analyse compréhensive et sociocognitive du vécu de femmes victimes des stratégies de contrôle et des agirs violents d'un (ex-) conjoint dominant"( Breaking the hold from one temporality to another - A comprehensive socio-cognitive analysis of the experiences of women who are victims of control strategies and violent actions by a dominant (ex-) partner), which is at the heart of gender studies and clinical victimology.


he award was officially presented at a day-long event organized by the Comité Femmes et Sciences in conjunction with the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, where Sarah El Guendi had the opportunity to present the thesis project honored by the award.

Summary of Sarah El Guendi's thesis

In recent years, we have witnessed a feminist revival centred on the issue of violence against women. Sarah El Guendi's dissertation is based on the premise of making visible the experiences of women who have been subjected to violence, putting singular experiences into words and paying particular attention to the most invisible voices. This grounding in lived experience enables us to look squarely at the singular realities of submission in the context of male domination. Starting with an analysis of the deeply subjective condition of women under control, which simultaneously makes them capable actors, the study aims to explore the evolution of their social and cognitive resources underpinning the persistence of control, as well as the mechanisms helping them to escape from it.

In the context of intervention, the research defends the idea that it is crucial to situate victims temporally in their exit trajectory to define support that responds to the relational dynamics and specific contexts of each of them. Following the iterative process of progressive theorising, the results made it possible to create three theoretical models that conceptualise the different socio-cognitive states - state moments - of victims in various postures - temporal moments - of their exit trajectory. The models developed as part of this work, namely the posture oscillating between submission and distancing, the posture of awareness of active submission and the posture of developing the power to act, are intended to guide health professionals and psychosocial workers. They help contextualise victims' multiple realities from an interactional and intersectional perspective.

This conceptualisation reflects a vision of working towards the emancipation of women victims, as actors rooted in a personal history and a web of social connections. For a long time, victims have been immersed in an intimate and social sphere governed by mechanisms of domination that constrain their capacity for action and reflection. At an individual level, these normative constraints are transposed as beliefs and patterns of and patterns of thought, which are then used to give meaning to their condition of subjugation.

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