Duress results from the internalization of violence. Through the narratives
of two Central African Republic student refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo,
this article presents the multiple layers of violence they experience. After introducing
violence, the article turns to its different layers by making use of the palimpsest metaphor.
Three layers of violence interrelate and overlap: the first relates to chronic crisis
in the Central African Republic; the second layer deals with the context of the urban
jungle (Kinshasa); and the third layer is linked to the humanitarian agencies that fail
to provide for urban refugees. The experience of these three layers adds up to duress.
Duress colors the students’ agency and the decisions they make along their life paths.