Reexamining What We Think We Know: A Lesson Learned from Tamil Refugees


Weaver, Hilary N. 2005. “Reexamining What We Think  We Know: A Lesson Learned from Tamil Refugees.” Affilia 20 (2): 238–45.

Author: Hilary N. Weaver


This article describes a project designed to create a culturally appropriate tool to assess trauma in Tamil people who have fled civil war in Sri Lanka. In addition to being culturally appropriate, the project sought to determine if the assessment tool would adequately measure trauma experienced by women. Despite concern that Tamil women would be reluctant to discuss sexual assault, in this project women did indeed describe their traumatic experiences and often preferred to do so in the presence of multiple people. Notably, Tamil men also commonly stated that they experienced sexual assault. As social workers, we are reminded that there is a continual need to question assumptions, especially those about what we expect people from a particular culture to think, believe, and do.

Keywords: cultural competence, Rape survivors, refugees, Tamil

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Gender, Women, Men, Humanitarian Assistance, Context-Appropriate Response to Trauma, Sexual Violence, SV against Men, SV against Women Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2005

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