Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Women's and Gender Studies


Jayne Mooney

Subject Categories

African History | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Social Justice | Women's Studies


Women, State Violence, Dictatorship, Transitional Justice, Sexual Violence


This thesis investigates the gendered dynamics of dictatorship in The Gambia by exploring the impact of state sanctioned violence on women during former President Yahya Jammeh’s twenty-two years of tyranny in the country. During the two-decade long brutal reign under Jammeh, Gambians from all walks of lives faced gross human rights violations and abuses that inflicted collective national trauma on the population. Therefore, this project examines how Jammeh’s tyrannical rule affected women’s rights, health, and wellbeing. Using a content analysis approach coupled with semi-structured interviews with victims and survivors, I argue that although the dictatorship affected all sectors of the Gambian population, women were the most adversely impacted. Women did not only experienced torture and brutality from state agents but also encountered sexual and gender-based violence, leaving them with deep psychological scars that they are likely to live with for the rest of their lives. Grounded in Black feminist and postcolonial feminist theories and framework, I argue that the gendered nature of the violence experienced by women inspired them to be at the forefront of activism and resistance, thereby ending Jammeh’s brutal regime in the nation’s historic elections in December 2016. The study concludes with the implications for further research on violence prevention, and accountability and justice for victims and survivors of the regime.