Read this. It was brought to my attention after communication with REACT, a project concerned with raising awareness about the experiences of asylum seekers in the UK.
One of the ongoing projects they are engaged in is concerned with the particular problems facing women refugees and asylum seekers, with the process systematically failing to address gender-specific issues, despite approx 50% of refugees being female.
For instance, an chronic lack of childcare for women refugees means that women often have to make their cases for asylum, at the initial interview, in the presence of their children; if – as is not uncommon – the woman has left their home country having suffered gender-based violence such as rape and other forms of sexual violence, the presence of her children often hinders giving a description of these experiences. So can the presence of male interpreters. When, later in the process, allegations of rape are then made, they are not believed precisely because it wasn’t mentioned in the initial interview.
Lack of childcare means that women often cannot attend ESOL english language classes. These seem like two pretty clear instances of locutionary silencing (see Langton, 1993); conditions are such that women feel they simply cannot speak – perform locutionary acts that they wish to.
Some of the issues raised in the article (above) also highlight the epistemic injustices (see Fricker, forthcoming) that these women often face – their testimony being treated dismissively, as they are not treated as credible testifiers.
A very comprehensive document to consult is the refugee council’s review ‘Making Women Visible’.