Please Sign In or Create an account
The Anatomy of Rape. Rebuilding dignity in the face of shame and dishonour

The Anatomy of Rape. Rebuilding dignity in the face of shame and dishonour

This paper is based on 18 years of field experience in Asia, Africa, and Australia, researching the rape and sexual abuse of refugee and IDP women and girls in conflict situations, camps and urban refugee settings. These actions are often  based on notions of depriving women of “honour” and thus shaming individuals, families and communities. In some cases it is used as a form of ethnic cleansing.
Reports continue to be received from around the globe, documenting unprecedented levels of systematised rape, survival sex, trafficking, forced and under-aged  “marriage”, extreme poverty , and social disenfranchisement of female-headed refugee and IDP households. Women and girls suffer from the devastating physical, psychological and social effects from repeated rape and threat of rape and other forms of sexual and gender based violence. These include sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, shame, trauma, depression, rejection by community, infanticide and suicide.

The paper seeks to provide some insights into this phenomena.  It argues that the imposed identity label of ‘refugee women’ and the oppressions subsumed within that label are  a key element in the failure of protection of refugee women, perpetuating the discourse which confers impunity and social tolerance on perpetrators of sexual violence.  The intersection and compounding effect of these dual identities as both women and refugees can explain their extreme vulnerability to gender based and sexual violence by actors who are confident of legal impunity and social acceptance.

The paper offers ways of addressing the sequale of this experience through a number of approaches.  These include  the recognition and enhancement of refugee capabilities and resilience, community education,  community participation in generating solutions , and enhanced international protection mechanisms.

Areas of Interest / Categories: Refugee Issues, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Violence, STARTTS 2011

STARTTS 2011

Psychoeducation as an integrative part of therapy with clients who suffer from PTSD

Evidence suggests that even basic information about trauma related symptoms and issues can help traumatised people to understand their traumatic experiences and to make sense of their symptoms. How the clients react to the intrusions depends on how they view the nature of these symptoms. This lecture defines psychoeducation and explains the use of techniques in clarifying and reframing that can assist clients to correct their misconceptions about trauma symptoms and disorders. It is important for clients to understand that people who suffer PTSD often re-experience the traumatic events through intrusive thoughts and ideation, through dreams as traumatic nightmares, and sometimes even through flashbacks.

Strengthening clients’ capacities and sustainability by utilising Neurofeedback therapy in a Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) symptomatology

This paper focuses on the consequences of torture and war in different populations and deals with the new strategies implemented by the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (www.STARTTS.org.au) to overcome trauma related psychological symptoms of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD).   This presentation aims to emphasis Neurofeedback as one of the approaches of STARTTS’ Bio-Psycho-Social Model in order to strengthen clients’ capacities making them more sustainable to deal with complex PTSD, by regulating the clients’ nervous system. 

Psychosocial Impact of the 'War on Terror' on Muslims Settling in Australia

The trauma, shock and suffering experienced through the recent acts of terrorism, such as September 11th and the subsequent ‘War on Terror’, has had an enomorous psychosocial impact on Muslims resettling in Australia. Many have experienced re-traumatisation accompanied by severe posttraumatic symptoms, grief and loss reactions, anger, resentment, survivor guilt, anxiety and depression. However, the situation has become further complicated through the association of terrorism with Islam and being Muslim  It has become common to hear reports of stigmatization, fear, rejection, harassment and discrimination experienced by  Muslims.

Psychological Assessment of Torture and Trauma Survivors

The aim of the presentation is to highlight importance as well as complexity of the psychological assessment of torture and trauma survivors treated at the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS). STRATTS’ clients have experienced multiple traumas; being severely maltreated and persecuted. They face difficulties on the individual, family, community and society levels, suffering from chronic general health conditions and dealing with severe psychological symptoms.

A psychodynamic, play-centred approach to work with a refugee child (Case study)

This lecture presents a case study using a psychodynamic model  for therapeutic work with a refugee child from Iraq.  The model draws on parent and teacher interviews, transference and counter-transference phenomena, and play behaviour to formulate a hypothesis about the causes of the child’s anxieties.  Importantly, the value of play and playfulness is emphasised throughout therapy.  

Implementing a whole school approach to supporting students of refugee background.

Schools are in an excellent position to support children, young people and families of refugee background in their resettlement and recovery from trauma.VFST prioritises supporting schools through the

Benefits of conducting groups with students from refugee backgrounds in the school context.

The presentation will cover the rationale and benefits of conducting groups with students from refugee backgrounds in the school context. Challenges that arise when running groups will be discussed