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Michelle De Jong
"I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the GHJRU. I worked on interesting projects in fields that were new to me, such as LGBTI activism in Southern Africa, issues relating to minority stress and social determinants of health. This allowed me to build on and expand my existing skills. I worked with more experienced, passionate researchers who were open to sharing their knowledge with me and supporting me both while I was working in the unit and since then. Interning with the GHJRU provided me with opportunities to work as part of a team and to learn about some of the logistical, legal and ethical issues research units need to deal with. The GHJRU is a wonderful place to work with highly skilled, friendly and warm people to learn from and get to know."
Michelle has a background in psychology and was a PhD student at Rhodes University while completing her internship. Her thesis focused on discourses of health and identity in the context of neoliberal capitalism and consumer culture. At the GHJRU, she assisted with a project considering the mental health and wellness of LGBTI rights activists in Southern Africa. Other research interests include violence and trauma, gender, climate change and subjectivity.
"The fast passing time at the unit has given me the opportunity to get a sense of academic life, doing analysis and working on exciting topics such as forensic psychiatry, the interpretation of law and psychiatry, the complex nature of South Africa, and organising a Silent Protest for raising concern of sexual violence. The internship strengthened my knowledge about the country and history of colonialism, given me food for thought about my position as a European visitor, and gave me insights that will be useful for the career I am about to pursue."
Phebe completed her BSc in medicine and is finishing her master's degree in Philosophy (Bioethics) in Amsterdam. At the Gender, Health and Justice Research Unit, she is completing a research internship as a start to her medical master's degree. Phebe is especially interested in forensic psychiatry and power-constructs. Having a thorough interest in people, she has worked with homeless and addicted people for a few years, and created decor for an art festival.
"Interning at GHJRU was a great experience both inside and outside the office. I had the opportunity to learn about issues I'm passionate about in a different cultural context, which nuanced my ideas about addressing them. Having the opportunity to grow in knowledge and appreciation for the people of South Africa also allowed me to reflect on what kind of work I can do to help the women and communities of colour back home in the States."
Sydney interned at GHJRU as a part of her BA program at Michigan State University where she is studying Social Relations and Policy, with a minor in Public Relations, as well as African American and African Studies. Sydney was compelled by the opportunity to address issues facing women and LGBTQ+ populations in different areas outside of the US. She assisted with research on a project concerning queer African youth. After finishing her internship, Sydney returned to Michigan State where she will complete her last year, and plans to get involved with non-profit work for the first few years after graduation.
"Interning at the GHJRU was a useful and good research experience. It has been a pleasure to meet and work with such inspiring people. South Africa's social and political climate has been very influential and it has challenged me in ways I have never been before. I feel especially grateful for that experience."
Marie interned at the GHJRU as part of her masters degree programme in cultural sociology at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. She is interested in how gender identities as well as sexualities are conceptualised, constructed and expressed. At the GHJRU, Marie worked on a research project investigating LGBTI mental health and wellbeing across 12 African countries. The project is employing a participatory and community-based needs assessment model that can be used as a framework for future research and advocacy work.
"Interning with GHJRU helped me to learn important research skills that will assist me in the future. It gave me an opportunity to hone my passion for gender based violence prevention and victims advocacy. I worked on projects ranging from researching sexual violence in women's prisons and intimate partner violence in Southern Africa to outlining sexual assault and harassment policy at the University of Cape Town. The research I did at GHJRU was the perfect complement to the counseling and other non-profit work I did around sexual violence in Cape Town. Whatever I work on next, I know that I will always be able to use my knowledge from GHJRU and reflect fondly on my time there."
Adam started interning with GHJRU in early 2017, while studying at the University of Cape Town through the Semester Study Abroad Programme. He is earning a dual Bachelors in Global Public Health and Media, Culture and Communications from New York University. In the US, Adam volunteers for the Rape, Abuse and Incest and the Crime Victims Treatment Center, and he is on the board of the Students for Sexual Respect at New York University.
"Interning at the GHJRU provided me with the opportunity to really learn and grow as a researcher. I was provided with support and guidance from the brilliant individuals working at the unit. My time there also reignited my interest in the issues around gender and health and I hope to carry this interest and passion with me as I progress in my career."
Agatha interned at the GHJRU for 6 months from September 2016 after completing her Master’s in Public Health in Epidemiology from Queen’s University in Canada. In her time at the GHJRU, Agatha mainly worked on a research project investigating LGBTI mental health and wellbeing across 12 African countries. This project is using a participatory, mixed methods methodology, and she contributed to both the qualitative and quantitative components of this project.
“During my time at the GHJRU, I was given the opportunity to strengthen my research skills and work under brilliant researchers at the forefront of their field. My keen interest in the sexual and reproductive health rights of adolescents was applied to a Ford project that I worked on over the 6 months that I was at the Unit. While working on this project I felt I was given the chance to push myself and rise to the challenge. In doing so I grew as an academic, a researcher and as an activist. It was an honor and a privilege to learn under the guidance of the Unit’s researchers for such an extended period.”
Samantha Malunga joined the Gender Health and Justice Research Unit’s internship programme for the second half of 2016. During her 6 months at the Unit she conducted literature reviews and research that contributed to a Ford funded project entitled “Contested terrain: Legal frameworks around adolescent sexual and reproductive health in five Southern African countries”. Two policy briefs were written from the data that emerged from the project.
Samantha is now in her final year of her Masters’ in Public Health at the University of Cape Town where she is specializing in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Track. She is currently working part-time as a research assistant at the Aids and Society Research Unit - housed in the Centre for Social Science Research - where she is still pursuing her interests in adolescent sexual and reproductive health, rights, and wellbeing.
"Working at the GHJRU was an incredible experience. I was able to interact with intelligent, driven, and encouraging women on issues I'm really passionate about. Being at GHJRU really convinced me to stay within the women's health research field."
Swati is currently working on her Master's in Public Health at New York University and interned at the GHJRU for two months in 2016. She worked on multiple projects and a number of literature reviews focused on the legal system's engagement with sexual assault cases.
"While at the Unit I was able to work with and learn from some of the most respected researchers in the field. Under them, I was able to grow as a researcher as well as gain an appreciation for the specific social climate of South Africa and several neighboring countries. I am so grateful for the opportunity and the guidance that I found at GHJRU."
While at the GHJRU, Sarah conducted literature reviews and research on teen pregnancy, LGBTI health issues, and incarceration. She also contributed to a project examining outcomes of gender-based violence cases. Sarah is finishing her undergraduate degree in Comparative Cultures and Politics at the JamesMadison School of Public Policy at Michigan State University as well as a minors in Environment and Sustainability, Women and Gender Studies, and Peace and Justice Studies. She is currently interning at The Community Economic Development Association of Michigan and in public advocacy at Planned Parenthood in Michigan.
Valérie Grand Maison
"Working at the GHJRU allowed me to develop research and advocacy skills within a driven multidisciplinary team. It inspired me to pursue a career in research and women's rights."
Valérie interned at the unit as part of a partnership with Dalhousie University and the Atlantic Council for International Cooperation. Having just graduated from a M.Sc in Global Health from Maastricht University, she is interested in pursuing a career in research, particularly at looking at ways to improve access and quality of healthcare provision for women. At the unit, she is mainly working on a project aiming at improving screening of GBV in VCT clinics in Kwa-Zulu Natal, while helping with other GBV-related tasks.
"My six months working with the GHJRU has proven to be an unparalleled experience, one which allowed me to engage in a variety of issue areas and research projects. This diversity of work has expanded my understanding, my skills, and the scope of my interests. Above all else, however, was the quality of the mentorship that I received while at the Unit - empowering me to work independently while remaining available to provide guidance when it was desired and never making me feel like an intern but, rather, a colleague."
Sarah began working with the GHJRU in October 2015. During her six months with the Unit, Sarah will be working on an assessment of the legal and policy frameworks affecting access to sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents in Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Sarah comes to the Unit with a Master’s in Social Policy and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science and previous experience working with the HIV programme at the United Nations Population Fund in Zimbabwe.
Marthe has bachelor's degrees in Health Sciences (University of Maastricht) and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences (University of Amsterdam). She is a second-year student in the Research Master Social Sciences programme of the University of Amsterdam. With a major in Sociology, she is interested in inequality and especially passionate about gender inequality. Currently, she is doing fieldwork for her thesis focusing on the gendered moral rationalities of South African mothers, using feminist theories with cultural sociology and intersectionality. At the GHJRU she is assisting with a project that examines the impact of community empowerment on access to sexual and reproductive health and rights services for sex workers and gender minorities in South Africa. Marthe also plans to help with the organisation and execution of focus groups that concentrate on the perspectives of children from Lavender Hill and their relationships with grown-up relatives and other adults.
“My internship at the GHJRU gave me the opportunity to discover and develop my interest in gender-related issues. During my time at the unit, I explored the role of the South African healthcare system in identifying intimate partner violence. These and the other projects have given me invaluable insights into gender inequality and gender-based violence in South Africa and beyond. It has been a fascinating experience and an absolute pleasure to work with such knowledgeable and passionate people in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.”
Rosanne joined the GHJRU internship programme early 2014 as part of her Masters in International Public Health at the VU University in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. During her 6-months internship, she worked on her Masters research project, which looked at healthcare providers’ experienced barriers to screening patients for intimate partner violence. She also assisted with an external review of DSD’s Victim Empowerment Programme in the Western Cape; and a WHO ICD-11 workshop on paraphilias. A poster presentation of her research project’s results was done by GHJRU members at the International Council on Women’s Health Issues (ICOWHI) Cape Town congress in November 2014. Rosanne is hoping to pursue a PhD degree in GBV and humanitarian action at the University of London.
“My internship consolidated my interest in gender-related issues as they intersect with the vast, disproportionate, and under-resourced disease burden that hinders development across Sub-Saharan Africa. It was a great opportunity to be under the tutelage of foremost experts in this cross-disciplinary field.”
Anna joined the GHRU internship programme in 2014 after graduating from the University of Sydney, where she studied bioethics and anthropology. In the three and half months of her internship, she assisted with an external review of DSD's Victim Empowerment Program in the Western Cape; a proposal for a study to track victims of child sexual abuse as they move simultaneously through the criminal justice system and the social welfare system in South Africa; a regional mapping study of HIV/SRHR services in Southern Africa; a research study on victims of GBV with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities; and a WHO ICD-11 workshop on paraphilias. Anna is hoping to pursue either a Masters in Public Health at UCT next year or postgraduate medicine at home in Australia.
“Interning at the GHJRU afforded me an unparalleled opportunity to be involved in socially responsive research on gender justice. I really enjoyed my time at the Unit and it was a great learning experience!”
Whilst enrolled at Dalhousie University, Canada, Emily interned at the Unit for 3 months, whilst conducting research for her Masters research project. During this time she also worked on a training manual for forensic social workers, a global survey on domestic violence legislation, a commentary on the Department of Correctional Services annual report, and a legal opinion on juvenile sexual offender registration. She is currently conducting research on LGBTIQ pathways to health and resiliency in Halifax, Canada.
“The GHJRU offers a theoretical and practical approach to addressing GBV issues in post-conflict countries. Thanks to the support, guidance and encouragements of (the) team members, my internship experience at the Unit helped sharpen my skills and complete my academic knowledge.”
Daphne interned at the Unit from July to December 2013 whilst completing her MA at the Université de Montréal (Qc) Canada. Daphne primarily conducted research for her final paper on the role and relevance of medico-legal services in promoting access to justice for GBV victims in post-conflict and transitional African states. However, she also provided research assistance for many Unit-based projects including on offending women and children, violence against Women in South Sudan & Sierra Leone, the A5I project, forensic social work in South Africa and international domestic violence legislation.
“My internship was a huge opportunity for me to witness the interaction of gender and the law, people and the law, in a different context and on multiple levels. It was one of the better decisions I've ever made.”
Gina interned with the Unit from February to April 2013. She helped develop a curriculum that focuses on gender, sex education, and gender-based violence in high schools; conducted desktop research to support a consulting project regarding gender and the police force in post-conflict South Sudan; and worked on a project looking at conflicting laws and reproductive rights for teenagers in South Africa. She was also involved with many other aspects of gender-based violence legal activism by attending meetings of gender-based violence organizations, demonstrations, meetings of portfolio committees at Parliament, and she also wrote a guest blog on Talia Meer’s Thought Leaders blog site. Gina is now the editor-in-chief of the Michigan Journal of Gender & Law, and a student attorney with the Michigan Clinical Law Program.
“The Unit undeniably heightened my understanding of gender-based violence and its global implications, while also fostering a supportive, dynamic and inspiring work environment.”
In early 2013, Nida interned at the Unit for three months through a program established by the University of Michigan Law School. She worked on several projects involving policy and law, particularly she helped develop more effective sex education materials for South African schools; researched successful African campaigns against gender-based violence; and analysed shortcomings in South African statutes and legislature regarding child sex and statutory rape. Currently, she is pursuing a career as a domestic violence and family law attorney for indigent clients in Chicago.
“I really enjoyed my time at the unit and I hope that all the experiences that I had the opportunity to gain will help me in the course of finding a similar job in Germany.”
After completing an MA in Social anthropology in Hamburg, Swantje visited South Africa to gain work experience and improve her English. She interned at the Unit and gender-based violence NGO concurrently. During her time at the Unit she worked on various projects including the A5I project on torture in places of detention in Africa, and a project to create tools for teaching about gender based violence in South African schools.
“Working at the GHJRU was very satisfying because the links between policy and action were strong, with the Unit’s work leading to real change for women in South Africa.”
Gabrielle joined the Unit as an intern from McMaster University in June and July of 2012. While there, she assisted with a range of projects including the publication of a systematic review of youth violence prevention in low- and middle-income countries, to support the development of WHO guidelines for effective interventions. Gabrielle has since returned to Canada, where she is working towards completion of her medical degree. In 2012, she held the position of Local Officer for Global Health Advocacy at McMaster medical school and co-founded the Health Advocacy for Refugees Program (HARP), where she has been actively involved in speaking out against restrictive immigration policy and the impact this is having on the health of women and children seeking asylum in Canada.
“My work at GHJRU helped me to develop invaluable analytical skills based on a multidisciplinary perspective. My experience at GHJRU was not solely an opportunity for me to learn about South Africa’s legal framework on sexual and reproductive health rights; most importantly, it prepared me for research, policy, and advocacy work where my analytical skills will come to good use. The work environment and people are wonderful as well!”
Jenna interned with the Unit for 4 months whilst at the University of Michigan. She mainly worked on the project “Condoms Yes! Sex No!” about the inconsistent laws regulating teenage sexuality in South Africa. She is currently based in Beijing, China, as a Policy Intern at the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development.
“I thoroughly enjoyed and value my time spent at the Unit. The support and mentoring I received from the Senior Researchers and Director allowed me to grow and transition from a graduate student to a professional in the field of gender, criminal justice, and advocacy.”
Laura began as an intern in 2010 whilst completing her MPhil Sociology Development Studies at UCT, and became part of the Unit’s research staff in 2011. She worked on a range of projects including the Units work on women in prisons, PEP for rape survivors and gender-based violence prevention in South African schools. She currently works in New York City as the Program and Research Associate for the National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW), a non-profit organization working to secure the human and civil rights, health and welfare of all women, specifically pregnant and parenting women, and those most vulnerable to state control and punishment.
“My time at the Unit was foundational in shaping my belief that interdisciplinary research is integral to advancing change. I also was inspired by the incredibly dedicated staff at the Unit. Currently, I am a medical student at NYU and am a life-long advocate of women's rights issues.”
Sarah interned during the summer of 2009 as an undergraduate student at Stanford UniversityShe worked on a preliminary project identifying barriers to receiving Post Exposure Prophylaxis for rape survivors. I also conducted a literature review on the use of weapons in domestic violence police reports.
“The Unit was the best environment in which to learn about gender-based violence. The staff is really passionate about the work they do and that passion is contagious!”
Whilst at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Terri-Ann interned at the Unit in 2009, during which she wrote a concept Paper: Adolescent Sexuality in South Africa. Currently she is a Research Associate at Yale University, School of Medicine and Director of The Eastern Caribbean Health Outcomes Research Network (ECHORN). The project works to improve the health of those living in the eastern Caribbean through research, training and policy engagement.
“Working at the unit really opened my eyes to the intersections between public health, gender studies and the social sciences more broadly. It was an extremely enriching experience and environment which formed the basis of my transition to this field.”
Katherine was an intern whilst enrolled at the University of Cape Town as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar in 2009. She assisted with a study on barriers to access of PEP for rape survivors. Now she is a Research Analyst/Program Coordinator in the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, and is currently working on an external evaluation of a maternal mortality reduction project called "Saving Mothers, Giving Life" in Uganda and Zambia.
“The GHJRU afforded me an amazing opportunity to study the intersections of culture, health, and gender, solidifying my interest in these topics and offering first-hand experience that I have referred to on a regular basis. This experience was undoubtedly one of the most formative and meaningful I have ever had.”
Whilst at Stanford University Enumale interned with the Unit for three months in 2008. She worked on an HIV/AIDS handbook to teach police personnel the ethics of working with HIV+ people, and wrote an article comparing the services offered to rape victims in South Africa as a result of the Sexual Offences Act, and another pieces advocating an increase of services offered to South African rape victims. She is about to begin Harvard Law School.
“I really enjoyed my time at the Unit as it allowed me to view gender-conflict from an international perspective. I found my colleagues to be extremely encouraging and inspiring and Iam grateful to them for giving me the academic freedom to write candidly about the Sexual Offenses Act.”
In 2008, whilst at the University of Michigan Law School Shelby interned at the Unit for three months. In this time she wrote a chapter of the Unit's commentary on the 2007 Sexual Offenses Act, focusing on the advent of a new sex offender registry. At present is a legislative assistant to Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-PA) in D.C. works on a variety of issues including children, women's issues, immigration, and agriculture.
“My time at the Unit was engaging and inspiring - I was able to delve into serious legal research about sexual offences while being mentored by experts in the field.”
Elizabeth spent a semester at the Unit in 2008, whilst at the The University of Michigan Law School. During this time she researched and wrote a comparative legal analysis on the provision of post-exposure prophylaxis after sexual assault in South Africa, the USA, Canada and Australia. Her work was ultimately co-published as a chapter in Sexual Offences Commentary. She is currently an Associate at the law firm Hogan Lovells US LLP, where she specialises in advising institutions engaged in sponsored research - primarily colleges and universities - on compliance with Federal law.