Facing loss: coping mechanisms of Mayan widows in Guatemala
In countries of the global south the rights of widows are repeatedly infringed and neglected both by the women’s movement and by the international humanitarian community. Widows in Guatemala suffer especially from lack of official recognition and the psychological consequences of not knowing the fate of their husbands or not being able to bury them or remarry. This article focuses on Mayan Widows in Guatemala and how they cope with the loss in the context of the former military dictatorship and its counterinsurgency campaign against Guatemala’s rural, and mostly Indian citizens, the so-called “la violencia”. The study examines the psychological pain, coping mechanisms of these women and how they fulfil their dual economic roles; their vulnerability to intimidation, violence or abuse; and how this situation redefines their behaviour.
Published online: 11 December 2017