Overcoming Reluctance With Trauma Victims

Traumatic experiences become a part of an individual forever.  At a domestic level, clients may have traumatic experiences like rape, domestic violence, child abuse, and elder abuse.  At an international level, clients are often the victim of human rights abuses ranging from genocide to war crimes.  These individual have stories that may remain untold forever; however, some turn to the authorities and share their experiences one way or another.  Typically, a survivor of trauma may seek legal action against the perpetrator.  For survivors of human rights abuses, many victims tell their story to truth commissions or war crime tribunals which provide victims with a “sense of justice and catharsis.” In promoting long-term reconciliation, war crime tribunals identify and hold accountable specific individuals—instead of entire ethnic, political, or religious groups—who committed the crimes; this in turn subverts any “collective blame, guilt, retribution and continued or re-awakened hostility.” Despite the difficulty in reliving the traumatic experience, many victims share their stories for the greater good.  Out of the pain and struggle, hopefully trauma victims can slowly heal from sharing their experiences.

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