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Table 3 Results overview

From: The pandemic made us stop and think about who we are and what we want:” Using intersectionality to understand migrant and refugee women’s experiences of gender-based violence during COVID-19

Main Theme Subthemes Participant quote
Violence exacerbated by heightened convergence of sexism, racism, and xenophobia Intersections in public “In my opinion, the pandemic has made things worse, because it has worsened how people see others, there is a widespread fear of ‘the other’.” (FGD4—Senegal)
Intersections in the home “For our husbands it is even worse. You have to keep quiet; other than that, they will beat you a lot. Five years ago the situation was bad, then in the last two years it got better, but now these episodes are starting again, only with the Blacks.” (FGD3—Ghana)
Socioeconomic insecurity as a prominent risk factor for violence and compromised service access Loss of employment “I think girls maybe are less safe because they cannot have a job anymore and cannot provide for themselves. No money, no cash, no security. They cannot afford houses and they live outside or in crowded places, this can be dangerous.” (FGD1—Nigeria)
Essential needs: barriers and supports “I was pregnant during the lockdown. My husband lost his job and we did not have good food. We ate pasta pasta pasta pasta, every day.” (FGD1—Gambia)
Fragmented coordination between service sectors “Even today, the reception system for migrants is divided into separate compartments. The legislation has been very fragmented. Extremely different rules have followed one another between 2018 and today. There have been enormous changes in terms of access to certain services, depending on the level of reception facility a migrant lives in. Migration procedures and regulations have become extremely confused and complex.” (KII 49)
Limited inclusion of translation and cultural mediation in online and remote services Institutional bias and discrimination “Not all women understand each other, there are no translators, and consequently in the end many troubles come out […] During the lockdown, therefore, there was a lot of tension, but the operators could not do much. We always try to talk to them about our problems, but I am not sure whether these problems are taken into consideration. Some social workers do not speak much English, so we cannot communicate much.” (FGD8—Pakistan)
Value of cultural mediation services “Women should be understood in public services. These offices need to hire foreign women speaking many languages, like cultural mediators!” (FGD2—Bangladesh)
Social support and community solidarity Protective factors for safety and well-being “I am currently a [job title removed] at the Women and Girls Safe Space, and even when we could not meet I always tried to talk to my students and fellow sisters over the phone, to keep up the work. The pandemic is being hard on us, but it’s nice to see many women finding the strength to do something for themselves and their future. Maybe one positive thing of the pandemic is that it made us stop and think about who we are and what we want.” (FGD2—Ghana)