Remember Me
Or use your Academic/Social account:


Or use your Academic/Social account:


You have just completed your registration at OpenAire.

Before you can login to the site, you will need to activate your account. An e-mail will be sent to you with the proper instructions.


Please note that this site is currently undergoing Beta testing.
Any new content you create is not guaranteed to be present to the final version of the site upon release.

Thank you for your patience,
OpenAire Dev Team.

Close This Message


Verify Password:
Verify E-mail:
*All Fields Are Required.
Please Verify You Are Human:
fbtwitterlinkedinvimeoflicker grey 14rssslideshare1
Williamson, Caroline (2014)
Languages: English
Types: Unknown
In the 1994 Rwanda genocide, an estimated 800,000 people were brutally murdered in just thirteen weeks. This violence affected all Rwandans, but women experienced the genocide in very specific ways. They were frequently raped, tortured and physically mutilated. Yet, because of their sexual value, the number of women who survived the genocide far outweighed the number of men, leaving them largely responsible for rebuilding Rwandan society. While it may seem abhorrent to suggest that anything good could result from such tragedy, evidence from the women’s testimonies analysed for this research project suggests that this is a reality. \ud \ud Traditionally, the study of psychological trauma has been pervaded by an illness ideology with an emphasis on its pathological consequences. Throughout history and across cultures, however, the notion of positive changes resulting from human suffering has been recognised in literature and philosophy. Positive change following trauma, or posttraumatic growth, refers to the tendency of some individuals to establish new psychological constructs and build a new way of life that is experienced as superior to their previous one in important ways. Little research has been carried out on the concept of posttraumatic growth in other cultures and, to date, no research into posttraumatic growth has been carried out in Rwanda. However, empirical research in other contexts suggests that efforts to harness and promote posttraumatic growth may not only enhance health and well-being but also reduce future need for formal mental health services.\ud \ud Through a discursive analysis of Rwandan women survivors’ testimonies, this thesis reveals that, although there are countless tales of horror, pain and loss, there are also many stories about strength, recovery and growth. The thesis examines the impact of external factors, such as victimisation, stigmatisation and gender, which appear to encourage personal strength among these women, but have also gravely damaged their interpersonal relationships. It also examines the impact of the genocide on religious beliefs and demonstrates that individual interpretations of trauma within a religious framework can provide existential reassurance. However, because of Rwanda’s history of theocratic leadership, religious interpretations can also give spiritual credibility to ideologies which have a negative impact on group identity. The final part of the thesis examines processes of growth at the collective level, exploring the impact of the genocide on these women’s group identities both as survivors in Rwandan society and as Rwandans in an international society. It suggests that for growth to take place at the collective level, survivors require access to a platform from which they can develop counter ideologies and pursue their collective needs for agency on the one hand, and communion on the other. Drawing on the findings of this research, the concluding chapter offers culturally-informed advice to trauma practitioners, policy makers and non-governmental organisations as to how posttraumatic growth might be facilitated in the socio-political climate of Rwanda.
  • The results below are discovered through our pilot algorithms. Let us know how we are doing!

    • Holstein, James A., and Gale Miller, 'Rethinking Victimization: An Interactional Approach to Victimology', Symbolic Interaction, 13. 1 (1990), 103-122
    • Hron, Madelaine, 'Gukora and Itsembatsemba: The “Ordinary Killers” in Jean Hatzfeld's Machete Season', Research in African Literatures, 42. 2 (2011), 125-146
    • Jost, John T., and Mahzarin R. Banaji, 'The Role of Stereotyping in SystemJustification and the Production of False Consciousness', British Journal of Social Psychology, 33. 1 (1994), 1-27 Kehoe, Nancy C., 'Religious-issues Group Therapy', New Directions for Mental Health Services, 80 (1998), 45-55
    • Ryan, Richard M., and Edward L. Deci, 'Self-Determination Theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well-Being', American Psychologist, 55, (2000), 68-78 Smith, Tom W., and Seokho Kim, 'National Pride in Comparative Perspective: 1995/96 and 2003/04', International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 18 (2006), 127-136
    • Toffolo, Cris E., Emancipating Cultural Pluralism (Albany, New York: State University of New York, 2003)
  • No related research data.
  • No similar publications.

Share - Bookmark

Cite this article