In East Congo, sexual violence is frequently used as weapon of war. In Panzi Hospital, the hospital of the well-known gynaecologist Denis Mukwege, the psychosocial team is used to work with victims of violence of different ages. WarTrauma provided the Panzi team with specific training on child development and attachment theories.
Humiliation and the violation of honor and bodily integrity are used to subjugate the local population. Children are also victims of sexual violence in varying ways. They are abused themselves, are forced to witness violence or forced into the act themselves. All this has influence on the psychosocial wellbeing and development of the children and adolescents.
“This training was very useful as it addressed the relationship between the child and other figures of attachment, people who can be resources for children, especially for abused children, child victims of rape and sexual violence, “said clinical psychologist Evariste Kajibwami, at the end of this training.
The psychological care of people who have been abused requires continuous improvement of care. Often, the patients only come to seek help when the mental suffering has become intolerable. Panzi’s social assistants, affectionately known as Mamans Chéries (Dear Mothers), also joined in the training: “We have discovered themes that are very useful to us in relation to training … it adds something else to guide these children [victims of sexual violence] and to help them more and more,” said nurse Rosette Chiterha.
WarTrauma and Panzi are now preparing part two of the training which is planned for October and focusses on providing new and enhancing existing skills.