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Psychological Consequences of Trauma Experiences

Éditeur : Compte d'auteur Date & Lieu : 2007, Rotterdam
Préface : Pages : 376
Traduction : ISBN : 978-90-812050-1-6
Langue : AnglaisFormat : 150x215 mm
Code FIKP : Liv. Eng. Kl. Ifw. Psy. N° 4466Thème : Général

Table des Matières Introduction Identité PDF
Psychological Consequences of Trauma Experiences

Psychological Consequences of Trauma Experiences

International Free Womens Foundation

Compte d’auteur

Psychological Consequences of Trauma Experiences on the
Development of Migrated Kurdish Women in the European Union
J Final Results and Background 1 of a Survey in
Five European Countries and Turkey

Conducted and Issued Jointly by
International Free Women’s Foundation,
Rotterdam Utrecht University,
Department of Clinical and Health Psychology
Kurdistan Information Office, Paris

Encamên Psîkolojîk ên Serboriyê n Trawmayê
li ser Pêşketina Jinên Kurd ên Penaber li Yekîtiya Ewrûpayê
Encamên Dawiyê û Dîroka Raboriya Anketeke li
Pênc Welatên Ewrûpî û Tirkiyeyê

Bi hevkariya
Weqfa Navneteweyî ya Jinên Azad,
Rotterdam Zanîngeha Utrechtê,
Beşa Psîkolojiya Klînîkê û Tendurustiyê
Navenda Agahdariyan a Kurdistanê,
Parîs hatiye birêvebirin û weşandin
Di ware Aborî de Komîsyona Ewrûpayê
Bernameya Daphne û Weqfa CIBO’yê piştgirî daye
International Free Womens Foundation


Due to courageous efforts of many women rights activists and womens organisations, many unmentioned taboos in the context of violence against women have been unveiled during the last ten years. Crimes like “honour killings”, domestic violence, female genital mutilation, sexual torture and rape as a war crime have become subjects of public discussions and international campaigns. They influence the biographies of millions of women. The broad spectrum ol domestic and institutional gender-based violence and discrimination poses a major risk of traumatic life experiences for women in all patriarchal societies. Still, many aspects of gender based and sexualised violence and especially their correlation with other forms of discrimination yet need to be examined closely in order to combat them effectively.

Against this background, women’s rights organisations and the media have been paying attention to the situation of Kurdish women since the year 2000. Since then newspapers have reported surging suicide rates among women in the Kurdish province of Batman (Turkey), self-burnings by women in the Kurdish regions of Iraq and Iran, or repeated incidences of “honour killings”, which threaten the lives of many Kurdish women in their homelands and in the places of migration. However, these spotlights cannot sufficiently explain the complex patterns of discrimination and forms of violence influencing the lives of Kurdish women. Patriarchal violence within traditional social structures is not the only form Kurdish women are confronted with. However, such violence can be as life threatening for Kurdish women as for women in any other patriarchal society. Cultural, national, economic and political oppression directed against the Kurds in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria has determined their lives over nearly four generations now.

The interaction of national discrimination, disadvantaged opportunities, migration and forced displacement, massacres and wars together with gender oppression in the institutional and domestic sphere have been important risk circumstances for Kurdish women’s rights, lives and health. A high number of Kurdish women have witnessed sexual torture and rape by security forces. So far, criminal courts and the European Court Of Human Rights have tried some individual cases of human rights abuses against Kurdish women. Still, there is a high number of unreported and undocumented cases of human rights abuses against Kurdish women. Hitherto, in spite of conceivable needs and problems the mental and social consequences of trauma experiences by Kurdish women have not been the subject of scientific research. The increasing numbers of suicides by women in different Kurdish regions also indicate a possible risk for traumatised Kurdish women in EU-countries. Examination of traumata causes and consequences among Kurdish migrant women as well as providing support for the victims has become a frequent demand of individuals and institutions inside and outside the Kurdish community.

However, we do not intent to victimise Kurdish women by drawing attention to the causes and effects of violence. On the contrary, Kurdish women have been playing a central role in the development and conduct of this project. Their demands: “Stop the killing of women!” next to “Kurdish women want peace!” became slogans of “International Women’s Day” on 8 March and “International Day for the Elimination of all Forms of Violence against Women” on 25 November. They also influence them throughout their daily lives. Not least, it was the engagement of the movement of young Kurdish women in the four parts of the divided country as well as the emancipative engagement of several Kurdish women rights activists and associations, which broke the silence. By naming and uncovering the different forms of violence that women have been exposed to for generations, both as migrants and as Kurds, they started to explore ways and means for overcoming them.

One approach was the idea to contribute to closing the deficit of scientific research in this field. It seemed necessary to establish a scientific basis for women’s organisations, NGOs, policymakers, healthcare services and professionals in order to help them develop an understanding of the existing problems and to cooperate in finding adequate solutions. In order to respond to this challenge, the International Free Women’s Foundation from Rotterdam initiated a close cooperation with Kurdish psychiatrists, the Department of Clinical Psychology at Utrecht University, the Kurdistan Information Centre in Paris, and a number of Kurdish women’s associations in Europe and Turkey. Our aim was to collect baseline data on the problem and to outline recommendations for future action in this area for EU institutions, which were to include healthcare services and organisations offering support to victims.
The research report consists of four main chapters:

First, an introductory chapter provides a general survey of the historical context and the present situation of Kurdish women in their homelands. We summarise the main characteristics of gender oppression, oppression of national identity, and the war and migration processes experienced by Kurdish women. We then describe the current situation of Kurdish migrant women in the European Union.

The second chapter is consigned to scientific methodology and theoretical and conceptual considerations relevant in the conduct of this survey. This chapter contains the core results and statistics resulting from the evaluation of questionnaires by means of quantitative and qualitative data analyses, comparisons of certain categories and scientific conclusions concerning the psychological consequences of trauma experiences on the development of Kurdish migrant women in Turkey and the European Union.

The third chapter contains recommendations based on the study’s findings. We publicise them to support the target group of the project, i.e. health care professionals, womens shelters and organisations, NGOs, policymakers and community services. In this sense, we express our hope that all actors will take the appropriate measures within the scope of their responsibilities to contribute to the prevention of avoidable traumatic experiences as well as to provide the mandatory support for traumatised Kurdish migrant women.

Fourth, we have added life testimonies of five Kurdish migrant women to this research report. These women were interviewed during the survey. They relate in their own words some key events of their biographies. We felt it important to add such testimony to the report. They form the background of the data we raised about the lives of Kurdish migrant women. Moreover, they give us an idea of the concrete human life experiences behind the figures. Unfortunately, these life stories are not the “most shocking" reports we listened to. We choose them as individual examples of events and problems reported by many Kurdish women.

Finally, we would like to express our gratitude to all people and institutions who believed in the necessity of this research in order to enable more effective measures in support of traumatised Kurdish migrant and refugee women as well as in terms of raising consciousness for an effective prevention of avoidable traumatising events in the future.

The project coordinators are especially grateful for the support received by the Daphne II Programme of the European Commissions Directorate -General Justice, Freedom and Security for selecting and funding our project proposal. This support was a major contribution to the realisation of the study.

In particular, we express our heartfelt gratitude to all volunteers who helped us with this survey including 1.127 Kurdish migrant women who sacrificed their time and had the strength to relate us their mainly painful life experiences.
On behalf of the International Free Women’s Foundation

Ann-Kristin Kowarsch and Nursel Kiliç

About the editors

This research was conducted by
International Free Women’s Foundation (Rotterdam, Netherlands; the foundation is an expert centre in the fields of women research, education, empowerment, violence and trauma with excellent network and logistics capacities.)

In close cooperation with:
Department of Clinical and Health Psychology at Utrecht University (Netherlands; experienced in large scale scientific empirical studies in the field of psycho trauma and cultural diversity’, e.g., Knipscheer, 2000; Knip-scheer, Kok & Kleber, 2004; Knipscheer, Gûlşen & Kleber, 2007)
Centre d’Information du Kurdistan (Paris, France; providing links between the Kurdish community and the French public; experienced in research on ‘Kurds in Europe’, e.g Berruti D., 2002)

Realisation, Evaluation, and Documentation of the Project
Project coordination: Ann-Kristin Kowarsch and Nursel Kiliç, International Free Women’s Foundation (IFWF)
Scientific experts: Dr J.W. Knipscheer, Dr C. Gûlşen, Prof. Dr R.J. Kleber, Department of Clinical and Health Psychology Utrecht University
Project partners: Eyyup Doru, Fidan Unlubayir and Kader Balikçi, Centre d’Information du Kurdistan
External evaluator: Dr. Bernard Granjon, Honorary President of Medecins du Monde

Advisory Board
The study was accompanied by an advisory board consisting of experienced practitioners in the field of psycho trauma therapy: Sevinç Işcanli, MD psychiatrist; Zübeyit Gün, clinical psychologist; Maaike de Vries, PhD in Medicine and Nil Kaymaz, MD psychiatrist attended at different levels to the progress and evaluation of the research. Members of the advisory board also provided a training course and supervision for the volunteers who participated in the data collection.

Remarks of the External Evaluator

Personally, I followed this project and its proceedings with great interest. Taking earlier studies on problems related to political violence into consideration I can state that an excellent study work has been carried out to examine the Psychological consequences of trauma experiences on the development of migrated Kurdish women in the European Union. The research has been well, thoroughly and seriously conducted.

Especially I would like to emphasize the impartiality and competence of the experts from the Netherlands involved in the study project. Relevant and reliable bibliographical sources from the United States, Australia and New Zealand have been evaluated. Nevertheless, the works of Argentinean psychiatrists constitute further references in the field of state violence’s consequences, which could be important sources in reconceiving the results of this project at a later stage.

The original approach with respect to the applied methodology has been related consequentially to the psychological disorder observed on Kurdish women by paying attention to their cultural reality. This specific topic has been very well analysed and the outcome of this study will be of great importance, particularly for therapeutics bound to deal with patients of the target group. The negative role of acculturation effects has become evident in the loss of the former human and cultural protective surrounding and the women’s difficulties in reconstituting a new social surrounding in the host country.

Further, the network of cooperation that has been established between Kurdish women and their local agencies for the successful implementation of this project has provided a solid foundation for its realisation that is incontestable.

Despite an emphasis on the schematic representation, a good analysis of the observed disorders among migrated Kurdish women in EU countries and Turkey has been provided. Classified in wide categories the results are …


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