Trauma and psychological and psycho-social issues

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Long-Term Cognitive Correlates of Exposure to Trauma: Evidence From Rwanda

This research paper increasingly shows links between trauma exposure, posttraumatic stress symptoms, and cognitive functioning. We know relatively little about the long-term cognitive correlates of exposure to trauma, especially in civilian populations exposed to war and political violence. This paper’s goal was to examine short-term memory (STM) and executive function 20 years after the 1994 genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda.

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A survivor’s dilemma in face of post-traumatic stress syndrome

A 52-year-old survivor of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi says after losing most of her family members, her life made a turn for the worse. Nonetheless, her journey after survival is still a heart wrenching one. The dark memories are fresh in her mind and this is making it hard to get over the past. She, however, says that the counselling sessions she attended helped her and now she is slowly recovering.

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Genocide horrors: Overcoming psychological scars

Traumatic memories are prone to haunt the lives of those who tend to survive horrendous events such as the Genocide. The time it takes for these wounds to heal depends on so many factors. With help and counselling, some heal, whereas others, unfortunately, battle with this trauma for the rest of their lives.

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25 years later, how is rape dealt with in Rwanda?

Many young girls and women were victims of rape during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), set up by United Nations Security Council was the first institution to recognise rape as a means of perpetrating genocide.

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Is it always good to talk? The paradoxes of truth-telling by Rwandans youth born of rape committed during the genocide

This article addresses the effects of open dialogue and truth-telling versus silence in global post-conflict endeavors for justice and reconciliation by endorsing practices of either talk or silence, and also by investigating the practical dilemmas faced by Rwandan youth born of rape committed during the 1994 genocide as they find themselves caught in dual cultural imperatives to reveal and to conceal the circumstances of their origins.

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Why younger Rwandans are most affected by trauma

Dr Jean Damascène Iyamuremye, Director of Psychiatric Care Unit, Mental Health Division of the Rwanda Biomedical Centre, argues that among the people with trauma related to the Genocide against the Tutsi, we, unfortunately, find young people who were not born at the time. He referred to it as “transgenerational or intergenerational trauma”.

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Perspectives on Loss and Trauma Assaults on the Self

The author reviews theory and research on a sampling of loss and trauma phenomena. The book also discusses relevant therapy approaches and emphasizes a story-telling approach to coping with major loss. Focusing on many of the most challenging types of human loss and trauma, the book contains scores of stories of people confronting stress and of the courage displayed by so many in the face of profound loss in their personal lives.

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Principles of Healing and Reconciliation in Rwanda

The author explains how people can heal after a devastating period in their lives. He uses Christian principles and makes reference to the Holy Bible. For better understanding, the paper is divided into into smaller topics that include; Recognising the church as God’s agent of healing and reconciliation, overcoming cultural barriers in expressing emotion, finding God in the midst of suffering, the need to hear and be heard, discovering Jesus as the pain bearer, discovering Jesus as redeemer, understanding real forgiveness, exploring God’s way of dealing with ethnic conflict. Towards the end he shares the principles of healing that he used in South Africa during seminars he was invited to.

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Community based sociotherapy in Rwanda: healing a post-violent conflict society

This article highlights the impact community based sociotherapy has had among its beneficiaries. Participants have been able to alleviate trauma by finding a space for sharing their hurting memories and wounded emotions. Raped women have been given the opportunity to talk about what has happened to them with individuals who care. Through this approach, affected Rwandans have been able to move forward and give pardon to their abusers.

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The Rape Recovery Handbook: Step-by-Step Help for Survivors of Sexual Assault

If you are a survivor of sexual assault, you may be suffering from symptoms of depression, substance abuse, an eating disorder, panic and anxiety, or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This book provides an effective framework in which you can heal. The author helps victims acknowledge and learn to manage the emotional pain caused by the trauma of sexual assault, trauma expert Aphrodite Matsakis offers help for coping with the reality of this experience and dealing with the aftermath of conflicting and debilitating feelings.

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Trust After Trauma: A Guide to Relationships for Survivors and Those Who Love Them

Trauma survivors are often dismayed to find that traumatic events not only shatter their internal sense of well-being, but also leave them withdrawn or isolated. In this book, psychologist Aphrodite Matsakis guides survivors through a process of strengthening existing bonds, building new ones, and ending self-perpetuating cycles of withdrawal and isolation. Step-by-step exercises help you learn how to manage emotions, handle unresolved issues, accept realistic limitations, and find ways to make your relationships a context for healing.

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Trauma and Recovery: The aftermath of violence — from domestic abuse to political terror

The book brings a new level of understanding to a set of problems usually considered individually. Herman draws on her own cutting-edge research in domestic violence as well as on the vast literature of combat veterans and victims of political terror, to show the parallels between private terrors such as rape and public traumas such as terrorism. The book puts individual experience in a broader political frame, arguing that psychological trauma can be understood only in a social context.

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Regarding the Pain of Others

Susan explores the subject of visual representations of war and violence in our culture today. How does the spectacle of the sufferings of others (via television or newsprint) affect us? Are viewers inured–or incited–to violence by the depiction of cruelty? In Regarding the Pain of Others, Susan Sontag takes a fresh look at the representation of atrocity–from Goya’s The Disasters of War to photographs of the American Civil War, lynchings of blacks in the South, and the Nazi death camps, to contemporary horrific images of Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Israel and Palestine, and New York City on September 11, 2001.

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Exploring secondary traumatic stress experienced by nurses working in mental health service in Rwanda

It has been suggested that a unique feature of some mental health nurses’ work is exposure through their role as therapists to clients’ descriptions of, and reactions to, trauma, and that these experiences may actually indirectly cause distress and traumatization to the nurse. This proposed phenomenon has been termed “secondary traumatic stress”. The focus of this paper is to explore secondary traumatic stress experienced by nurses working in mental health services in Rwanda. The research was conducted in Ndera Psychiatric Hospital.

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The development of an intervention model to manage secondary traumatic stress in mental health workers in Rwanda

It was previously established that mental health workers in Rwanda experience secondary traumatic stress when working with trauma survivors. The effects of secondary traumatic stress can be serious and permanent in mental health workers when working with traumatized clients. This study aimed to explore STS and to develop an intervention model to manage secondary traumatic stress in mental health workers in Kigali, Rwanda.

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Management of the long term psychological effects of rape among women survivors of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda : a grounded theory approach

In the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, rape was widely used as a strategic weapon against Tutsi women. This study explored the long term psychological effects of rape experienced by these women in order to develop a middle range theory to guide the management of the lasting psychological effects of rape in the context of genocide.

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The role of narrative in healing in Rwanda

This thesis seeks to unearth narratives of history and identity as a way of exploring possibilities for healing and reconciliation. Through an in-depth examination of four life stories, interviews with leaders in the field of reconciliation in Rwanda and informal interviews with a broad spectrum of Rwandans, this research sheds light on the challenges and opportunities in terms of healing. It finds that through critical engagement with our own and broader socio-political narratives we can expand the possibilities of our own narratives, allowing scope for personal healing as well as leading to a deeper understanding of the other.

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Rwanda – lasting imprints of a genocide: trauma, mental health and psychosocial conditions in survivors, former prisoners and their children

The 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda left about one million people dead in a period of only three months. This study aimes to examine the level of trauma exposure, psychopathology, and risk factors for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in survivors and former prisoners accused of participation in the genocide as well as in their respective descendants.

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Courts in Conflict: Interpreting the Layers of Justice in Post-Genocide Rwanda

Transitional justice initiatives in post-genocide Rwanda include the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), and national and local transitional justice initiatives by the Rwandan government. More than two decades later, it is important to take stock of the lessons learned through empirical research which is relevant for improving the understanding of post-conflict societies and the impact of transitional justice mechanisms.

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Leave None to Tell the Story: Genocide in Rwanda

Based on Rwandan government records, the book dissects the deceptive discourse of genocide and shows how ordinary administrative structures and practices were turned into mechanisms of murder. It describes opposition to the killing campaign and how it was broken. In the words of survivors, it relates how they resisted and escaped. Using diplomatic and court documents, the study details the transformation of international indifference into tardy criticism.

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Failed aid: how development agencies are neglecting and marginalising Rwandan genocide survivors

The paper argues that international development aid agencies have failed adequately to address the rights and needs of genocide survivors in Rwanda. It illustrates that genocide survivors remain impoverished and marginalised, and that development aid agencies only tangentially, if at all, acknowledge their vulnerability and take steps to empower them to realise their rights. It provides examples of aid programmes that are reaching genocide survivors and urges development aid agencies in Rwanda to design and implement programmes explicitly for genocide survivors.

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The Gacaca Courts, Post-Genocide Justice and Reconciliation in Rwanda: Justice Without Lawyer

The book is a review of the Gacaca Courts which were established in 2001 in Rwanda as an attempt to prosecute suspects involved in the 1994 genocide. Dr. Clark argues that, despite widespread international scepticism, the Gacaca process has achieved remarkable results in terms of justice and reconciliation, although this has often come at a price, especially the re-traumatisation of many Rwandans who have participated firsthand in hearings.

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Narrating our Healing: Perspectives on Working through Trauma

The book explores the importance of narrative as a way of working through trauma. It offers illuminating perspectives on the process of narrating our healing: the sharing of personal narratives, the appropriation of literary narratives, and above all, the re-creating of life narratives shattered by trauma. It is a book about the search for meaning when all meaning seems to have been lost; it deals with the overwhelming nature of traumatic suffering, yet offers some hope of healing. It offers a strong message to all individuals and nations who live in an atmosphere of blame, shame and hopelessness.

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Healing Invisible Wounds: Paths to Hope and Recovery in a Violent World

This book reveals how in every society we have to move away from viewing trauma survivors as “broken people” and “outcasts” to seeing them as courageous people actively contributing to larger social goals. When violence occurs, there is damage not only to individuals but to entire societies, and to the world. Through the journey of self-healing that survivors make, they enable the rest of us not only as individuals but as entire communities to recover from injury in a violent world.

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Broken Memory: A Novel of Rwanda

Emma is a young Tutsi girl who lost her mother during the genocide in 1994. When the country establishes gacaca courts to allow victims to face their tormenters in their villages, Emma is uneasy and afraid. But through her growing friendship with a young torture victim and the gentle encouragement of an old man charged with helping child survivors, Emma finds the courage to return to the house where her mother was killed and begin the journey to healing.

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Wounded I Am More Awake: Finding Meaning after Terror

The book follows the story of Esad Boskailo, a doctor who survives six concentration camps in Bosnia and emerges with powerful new lessons for healing in an age of genocide. This gripping account raises questions for healers, survivors, and readers striving to understand the reality of war and the aftermath of terror. Is it possible to find meaning after enduring crimes against humanity? Can people heal after trauma?

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ICC orders first monetary awards to war crime victims

The International Criminal Court passed a verdict that 297 victims of a 2003 attack on a Congolese village should receive individual and collective reparations for the crimes of war committed by former Congolese militia leader Germain Katanga that they survived. They were awarded a compensation of $250 per victim, as well as collective reparations to help the community in the form of housing, income generating activities, education, and psychological support.

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Children of genocidal rape left out in support programmes

During the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, perpetrators used rape as a weapon. As a result, about 20,000 children were conceived and born the following year. According to policies in place, since they were born after December 31 1994, they are not considered as victims of genocide. The article argues that these children need more support from the government and non-government organisations and policies that address their issues need to be formulated.

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Durable Peace: Challenges for Peacebuilding in Africa

In this series of remarkable and thought-provoking essays, the contributors shed light on the process of peacebuilding. Collectively, they demonstrate that if efforts to restore peace in war-torn societies are to be successful, such efforts must be wide in scope, involving security and political issues, as well as economic development and socio-psychological reconciliation. Additionally, they must be extended over long periods of time and, above all else, anchored in the local community.

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Justice for Victims: Perspectives on rights, transition and reconciliation

This book focuses on the current study of victims of crime, combining both legal and social-scientific perspectives, articulating both in new directions and questioning whether victims really do have more rights in our modern world. It addresses challenging and new issues in the field of victimology and the study of transitional and restorative justice. As such, it will be of interest to researchers, practitioners and students interested in the fields of victimology, transitional justice, restorative justice and trauma work.

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The Antelope’s Strategy: Living in Rwanda After the Genocide

One hot May morning in 2003, a crowd of Hutus who had participated in the genocidal killings of April 1994 in Rwanda filed out of prison and into the sunshine, singing hallelujahs, their freedom granted by presidential pardon. As they returned to their old villages, Tutsi survivors watched as the people who had killed their neighbors and families returned to the homes around them. In The Antelope’s Strategy, Jean Hatzfeld returns to Rwanda to talk with both Hutus and Tutsis in order to find out how it is living side by side.

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Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak

During the spring of 1994, in a country called Rwanda, some 800,000 people were hacked to death, one by one, by their neighbors in a gruesome civil war. Several years later, journalist Jean Hatzfeld traveled to Rwanda to interview ten participants in the killings, eliciting extraordinary testimony from these men about the genocide they perpetrated. As Susan Sontag wrote in the preface, Machete Season is a document that “everyone should read . . . [because making] the effort to understand what happened in Rwanda . . . is part of being a moral adult.”

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Murambi: the book of bones

The novel recounts the story of a Rwandan history teacher, Cornelius Uvimana, who was living and working in Djibouti at the time of the massacre. He returns to Rwanda to try to comprehend the death of his family and to write a play about the events that took place there. As the novel unfolds, Cornelius begins to understand that it is only our humanity that will save us, and that as a writer, he must bear witness to the atrocities of the genocide.

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Failed aid: how development agencies are neglecting and marginalising Rwandan genocide survivors

This viewpoint argues that international development aid agencies have failed adequately to address the rights and needs of genocide survivors in Rwanda. It illustrates that genocide survivors remain impoverished and marginalised, and that development aid agencies only tangentially, if at all, acknowledge their vulnerability and take steps to empower them to realise their rights. It provides examples of aid programmes that are reaching genocide survivors and urges development aid agencies in Rwanda to design and implement programmes explicitly for genocide survivors.

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Psychological Aspects of Post-Conflict Reconstruction: Transforming Mindsets: The Case of the Gacaca in Rwanda

Scholars and practitioners contend that psychosocial healing is an effective way to reconstruct and rebuild society with an improved quality of life. It is against this background, that the paper makes an analysis of the gacaca process in Rwanda as a method of culturally sensitive approaches to psychological healing. Its main objective is to examine the Rwandan case and present recommendations on policies, strategies and instruments for post-conflict capacity-building initiatives.

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We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families

In April of 1994, the government of Rwanda called on everyone in the Hutu majority to kill everyone in the Tutsi minority. Over the next three months, 800,000 Tutsis were murdered in the most unambiguous case of genocide since Hitler’s war against the Jews. Philip Gourevitch’s haunting work is an anatomy of the killings in Rwanda, a vivid history of the genocide’s background, and an unforgettable account of what it means to survive in its aftermath.

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Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust

Immaculee Ilibagiza grew up in a country she loved, surrounded by a family she cherished. But in 1994 her idyllic world was ripped apart as Rwanda descended into a bloody genocide. Her family was brutally murdered during a killings but she miraculously survived. The triumphant story of this remarkable young woman’s journey through the darkness of genocide will inspire anyone whose life has been touched by fear, suffering, and loss.

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Transitional Justice

At the century’s end, societies all over the world are throwing off the yoke of authoritarian rule and beginning to build democracies. At any such time of radical change, the question arises: should a society punish its ancien regime or let bygones be bygones? Transitional Justice takes this question to a new level with an interdisciplinary approach that challenges the very terms of the contemporary debate.

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