13 Oct 2016
In the September 2016 edition of the Clinical Psychology Forum journal, SURF Clinical Psychology, Dr Jemma Hogwood has co-authored (with Dr Khadj Rouf), a paper on Genocide and Mass Sexual Violence: Psychological Support for Women Survivors in Rwanda.
The paper, which can be downloaded here, highlights how sexual violence is used against women and girls during war and genocide. It outlines the longer term impacts of such violence and presents a framework for psychological intervention in Rwanda, in the aftermath of mass rape.
The paper concludes…
Post-genocide work is crucial to help vulnerable populations, both in the immediate aftermath and in the longer term; people may suffer ongoing mental health problems and transgenerational trauma, which could render wider society vulnerable to further conflict. Such work requires a multisectoral response, and psychological support is an important component of supporting victims and aiding community recovery (WHO, 2000).
The example of work with survivors of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda provides a framework for working with women who have suffered long-term effects from rape. Clinical psychology has much to offer, in partnership with survivors; we must pay attention to, and better understand the needs of, women who have suffered wartime rape, and their children, in order to build resilience and ensure that they are healthy, supported and integrated within their communities.