Dear friends and colleagues
HHRI has developed a manual in order to provide input, tools and ways of working and assisting women who have been exposed to sexual violence in conflict… the idea is to provide something practical and easily accessible to those who are working in the field. The strength of the manual is that it is based on a human rights perspective, standards and values and it is gender oriented to respond to a very specific form of trauma: sexual violence.
Nora Sveaass, Chair of the Board at HHRI. June 2017
Health and Human Rights Info. (HHRI) has just released the Arabic, Russian and Spanish versions of our training manual Mental health and gender-based violence: Helping survivors of sexual violence in conflict also known as “HHRI GBV Manual”.
As some of you know, this tool is not a therapy manual, but a training manual on approaches and techniques that address the psychological needs of survivors of gender-based violence (GBV). It is a tool for helpers assisting and providing care to individuals who are exposed to this form of violence. It focuses especially on ways of understanding how trauma affects the lives of survivors, and how we can assist them in getting a better understanding themselves of their own reactions. At the same time, it focuses on the strengths, resilience and resources. The manual presents ways of approaching women exposed to rape and other forms of sexual violence in contexts of disasters, conflicts and emergency situations, where access to health professionals with psychological or psychiatric expertise usually is very limited.
It may also supplement and deepen the understanding of trauma and its consequences for health workers, who already have knowledge and experience. It may be a tool for helpers who train other helpers and for groups of helpers who need self-study materials. The manual can be read, studied or discussed, and the exercises it contains can be tested and applied in groups working on the subject.
The manual explores the psychological meaning of trauma and how traumatic events affect mental health. It describes the signs of severe stress as well as information on how these reactions can be assessed and understood. It offers advice on how helpers can approach women immediately following GBV, respecting their own limits, and how to deal with the distress they are experiencing. In particular, the creation of safe spaces that permit supportive dialogue and ways of stabilizing and “grounding” a person feeling fear and anxiety. The manual also describes how the survivor can be prepared to report a violation with an emphasis on ensuring the rights and safety of those involved, and the importance of supporting a woman in such a situation.
The editions in more languages, in addition to the original one in English, came as a request of helpers who have tried the original tool and found it useful, in countries such as Lebanon, Cambodia, Colombia, Sudan, Iraq, Rumania, Papua New Guinea, Norway, and Turkey. Through the availability of the manual in these key languages, HHRI hopes to assist many helpers around the world and, ultimately, provide hope and basic, but critical, mental health assurance to survivors in greater need.
These translations into languages has meant a great effort, and it would not have been possible without the very generous assistance and contribution done by UNHCR and Norwegian Church Aid. We are warmly indebted to their great support to make it possible.
Furthermore, in June 2017, HHRI initiated a training of trainers in order to increase its capacities to respond to requests from different entities -inside Norway and abroad- who wish to use the manual and, finally, we have also conducted trainings on skype, in order to reach more people close to where they work, and we hope to develop this methodology further.
If you would like a hard copy, please send us an e-mail explaining what kind of work you are doing and why would you need the manual. Our sponsors have graciously covered the costs of printing as well as shipping of the manual. In return, we would highly appreciate if you could provide us with feedback on how you used the manual; in training; as part of supervision; or in any other way that facilitated your work/helped the beneficiaries. A few weeks after you have received the manual, we will send you a link to a google questionnaire covering these issues. We hope that you will be able to spend some minutes to give us some feedback on your experience of using the manual and how it was applied in practice. Also, please note that complementary to the GBV Manual, we have developed a tool box which you also can accessed for free in English, Spanish, Korean, Georgian and Romanian if you visit our GBV manual web page. We would like to encourage you direct your questions or feedback to us through our e-mail.
Women’s rights country by country – interactive
Which countries have laws preventing violence? Which legislate for gender equality? And which countries allow abortion? Using World Bank and UN data we offer a snapshot of women’s rights across the globe. Select a region and hover over a country to see how it has legislated for violence, harassment, abortion, property and employment rights, discrimination and equality. Click on a country to tweet a message on the figures. Country data can be viewed in relation to its population size and those of its neighbouring states.
We are proud to announce Silvia Gurrola Bonilla as our Project coordinator for our work in the Latin American and Spanish speaking region. Silvia is a pedagogue with a post degree in psychotherapy with over 19 years of experience in managing, coordinating, and providing technical assistance to Reproductive Health, HIV/AIDS programs in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Eastern Europe with expertise on gender-related issues such as: gender assessments, gender mainstreaming, gender-based violence (GBV), women and girls´ empowerment and masculinities. Her main area of responsibility at the HHRI now is being in charge of the work with the GBV manual and adapting it for application in Spanish-speaking countries, maintain the Spanish part of our data search engine and our thematic pages. Silvia is happy to receive any feedback, comments and ideas regarding her engagement with these issues.