Helping Individuals Heal from Rape Connected to Conflict and/or War


McDevitt-Murphy, Meghan E., Laura B. Casey, and Pam Cogdal. 2010. "Helping Individuals Heal from Rape Connected to Conflict and/or War." In Trauma Rehabilitation after War and Conflict, edited by Erin Martz, 291-309. New York: Springer Science+Business Media. 

Authors: Meghan E. McDevitt-Murphy, Laura B. Casey, Pam Cogdal


Rape and sexual assault have been employed as weapons of war in recent conflicts. The effects on individuals, communities, and cultures can be devastating. Sexual assault is associated with high risk for posttraumatic stress disorder and other adverse outcomes. Some of the contextual factors (i.e., displacement, widespread fear and terror, multiple other forms of trauma, disrupted social support networks) related to war can only expound those effects. This chapter offers some guidance for clinicians working with survivors of war-related rape. Clinicians are advised to be sensitive to cultural and socio-political factors that will vary based on locale. The chapter includes information about assessment and treatment and describes one treatment approach (narrative exposure therapy) that has been successfully used in a chaotic war-torn environment.

Keywords: trauma, counseling, war rape, posttraumatic stress disorder

Topics: Armed Conflict, Displacement & Migration, Gender, Women, Health, Mental Health, PTSD, Trauma, Humanitarian Assistance, Context-Appropriate Response to Trauma, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against Women

Year: 2010

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