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Sexual abuse survivors and the complex of traditional healing : (G)local prospects in the aftermath of an African war

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Abstract(English): In its efforts to assist post-conflict societies in africa the international aid community has acitvely promoted projects of psycho-social healing among people traumatized during wars and violent conflict. To a large degree these projects have been established in the tradtion of Western psychology. More recently, however, it has been realized in order to help survivors of war effectivley it is necessary to adapt projects and enhance “local” psycho-social healing. This policy report locates the structures – with local legitimacy – that are available to young people who experienced sexual abuse during the Sierra Leone civil war (1991–2002). To this end, this booklet discusses a healing complex that comprises a number of overlapping actors, including herbalists, Zoe Mammies (heads of the female secret societies), Mori-men (Muslim healers); Karamokos (Muslim teachers) and Christian pastors.
CONTENTS1. Introduction2. Scope of the study2.1 Methods2.2 Research ethichs3. Limitations of the study4. War-related sexual abuse4.1 Quantitative findings4.2 Qualitative findings4.3 Turning a page? Sexual abuse in post-war reality5. Variations of traditional healing5.1 Notes on mental illness in Sierra Leone5.2 The healing complex6. Traditional healing of sexual abuse6.1 From the girls’ and young women’s perspective6.2 The herbalist6.3 The Karamoko and the Mori-man6.4 The Soweh mammy and female herbalist (Kuntumoi musu)6.5 Cleansing the bush6.6 The pastor6.7 Talking trauma – notes on counselling7. Findings and recommendations7.1 Social approaches towards the sexually abused7.2 Girls’ and young women’s practices related totraditional healing7.3 Findings on traditional healers7.4 RecommendationsAppendices
Authors: Nordic Africa Institute
Type: Report
Subject: Civil war
sexual abuse
humanitarian assistance
traditional medicine
post-conflict reconstruction
Sierra Leone
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
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