Newsletter No. 3 August 2019 The butterfly woman story. Animation

Newsletter No. 3 August 2019 The butterfly woman story – Animation

27.08 2019

Overview of content

The butterfly woman story
New video tutorials based on the GBV training manual
Portuguese version of our Training Manual


Dear friends and colleagues

As a part of our work with the manual “Mental health and gender-based violence Helping survivors of sexual violence in conflict – a training manual” 

We are happy to launch the story of the Butterfly Woman, which is a central part of our Gender-based violence (GBV) training manual. This animation tells the story of the Butterfly Women, a metaphorical narrative that is based on women’s encounter of gender-based violence in armed conflicts.

Metaphors are stories or images that convey something that can inspire or open the mind and can be simple and effective tools for teaching and learning.
In this training, we use a single metaphorical narrative to describe the experience and consequences of GBV. We explain the course that trauma takes in generic terms through the story of the Butterfly Woman; it remains a story but at the same time it is clinically accurate.

After being violated by soldiers, the life of the Butterfly Woman is turned into chaos. By the support of the good helper she learns ways to cope in order regain dignity. The story is created from the testimonies of the survivors in various parts of the world. We hope this animation will be a useful tool, for those working with survivors of gender-based violence. This animation should be used as a complement to our GBV-training manual. The complete written Butterfly woman story can be found on our website.


New video tutorials based on the GBV training manual.

Welcome to our tutorial videos based on the training manual Mental Health and Gender-Based Violence, Helping survivors of sexual violence in conflict. If you are working with or assisting survivors of gender-based violence or involved in the training of helpers working directly with survivors, this is the right place for you.

These video tutorials seek to reach people around the world and have been developed to be used in situations where helpers have limited or no access to specialised health services, and where humanitarian workers must deal with severe human loss, sorrow and distress in the midst of insecurity, conflict and war.

Welcome to the first tutorial.

This is a short introduction to the manual. This part gives you a general idea of the intention for making the manual, where to download it, how it is out lined and how to read it. Page 1-6 in the manual.

Why the human rights based approach?

Understanding the experiences of participants and survivors in terms of rights and their violation may be creative and bring insights, and can give survivors and their helpers valuable tools. Awareness of human rights, and their great importance for everyone, can be a valuable resource when working with people whose rights have been brutally disrespected. Human rights values may assist us both to understand the suffering we encounter and find ways to respond to it in a respectful and helpful way.

How to be a good helper?

What is a good helper in your community? What are the tools we already use and what are the new tools we can acquire from the manual.

Helping the helper

This tutorial is about how to support the helpers. For helper’s empathy is an essential aspect of good assistance. This is also a source for compassion fatigue, vicarious traumatization or secondary traumatic stress. Early recognition and awareness are crucial to be resilient to these symptoms.

The window of tolerance

Katinka Salvesen is a clinical psychologist working with trauma patients at the Modum Bad Clinic in Oslo. Among other, she is an experienced trainer, working with helpers and survivors of sexual violence in Congo. In this tutorial she will introduce the window of tolerance as a therapeutic metaphor that we can use to explain trauma reactions. This tutorial is the first of a series of three.

The butterfly woman metaphor

The manual uses the metaphor of the butterfly woman. A made-up story about a women who is raped by soldiers is presented. Her experiences, her life before the rape, her reactions and thoughts are presented. Furthermore the story contains descriptions about the way in which she sees herself afterwards, reluctantly asks for help and then slowly proceeds in her life through a lot of difficult steps.

All manuals can be downloaded from the MHHRI website

There are three different manuals, which respectively address working with women, with boys and men, and with children who have experienced sexual violence.

The manuals are translated into several languages. The page numbers in each manual remain the same across languages. This allows survivors and helpers to work from copies in their preferred language and read the same content on the same pages. It also makes it easier to teach participants when participants and trainers work in more than one language. The manuals include a toolbox. Survivors can use it individually to regulate their own emotions through grounding exercises or in collaboration with a helper. Helpers can also use grounding exercises to take care of themselves as helpers.

We appreciate feedback and comments 

Welcome to our new subscribers, we hope you will find our content useful. The Mental Health and Human Rights Info Newsletter is a newsletter with the aim to provide insight on a certain subject across the scope of our work; human rights violations in war and conflict areas and mental health. Our intention is to deliver a newsletter as a short “lecture” where you can find relevant information regarding a specific subject from a mental health perspective. You will receive our newsletter 5 times a year.

We would appreciate your thoughts and suggestions on other issues you would like to see in this newsletter or if you are planning an event on related issues, please let us know so we can include your event in our newsletter.

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On our MHHRI Facebook page, and on Instagram we are continuously posting new and relevant articles that we add to our website, as well as events and videos. We also just launched our new LinkedIn page!

Sincerely yours,
Take care – and we are wishing you all the best.

Sincerely yours,

Mental Health and Human Rights Info