Within resettlement scholarship, there exists a distinct absence of direct narratives by refugee women about their resettlement experiences within the United States. This study delves into this absence of voice, investigating the ways in which refugee women’s narratives are received and utilized within a refugee resettlement agency. This ethnographic study includes independent interviews with refugee women and resettlement staff. Utilizing Ernest Stringer’s method of action research and Cheryl Glenn’s Rhetoric of Silence, I argue that refugee women’s narratives are not wholly absent or silent, but rather that they are rarely acknowledged, often devalued, or inadvertently made a non-priority within larger resettlement frameworks and leadership. It is my suggestion that, by working with refugee women, prioritizing their experiences, and creating spaces in which these narratives can emerge, resettlement leadership can better serve our refugee communities.

Alys earned her Bachelor of Arts at Hollins University and her Master of Science in Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication at James Madison University (JMU). While at JMU, Alys conducted research into the impact of refugee women’s experiences within the American resettlement process. Alys continues to volunteer with her local resettlement agency and currently serves as the Director of Communications at Madison House, the student volunteer center at the University of Virginia.



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