Cognitive Neuroscience Society
A relatively new area of the literature on human response to trauma, particularly the trauma experienced during sexual violence, is that of tonic immobility. Defined as self-paralysis, or as the inability to move even when not forcibly restrained, tonic immobility has long been studied in non-human animals as the freeze response to extreme stress.
Rebecca Campbell, Ph.D. December
Dr. Campbell discuss the research on the neurobiology of trauma and the criminal justice system response to sexual assault. She will explain the underlying neurobiology of traumatic events, its emotional and physical manifestation, and how these processes can impact the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault.
Abuse is a traumatic experience. When a person experiences abuse, their responses to protect them in the short and longer term are instinctive. knowing how and why means that you can recognise these responses and be more effective in what you do.
As the civil war in Syria further deteriorates, accounts of systematic human rights abuses continue to emerge, including torture, starvation, and widespread sexual violence against civilians and combatants. More than five million refugees have fled to neighbouring countries in search of safety, yet they continue to face challenges of poverty, discrimination, as well as sexual violence and exploitation. Some attention has been given to women and girls who have suffered sexual violence in Syria and in displacement; however, less is known about male survivors, including ways to meet their needs.
European Journal of Intl Law
Sexual violence is committed against men more frequently than is often thought. It is perpetrated at home, in the community and in prison; by men and by women; during conflict and in time of peace. It has been written that, [i]n some respects, the situation facing male rape victims today is not so different from that which faced female victims, say, two centuries ago.
WHO Ethical and safety recommendations for researching, documenting and monitoring sexual violence in emergencies
World Health Organization
Ethics can be defined as a system or code of moral values that provides rules and standards of conduct. The three primary ethical principles that should guide all inquiries involving human beings (including methods used to collect information) are as follows: 1) Respect for persons, which relates to respecting the autonomy and self-determination of participants, and protecting those who lack autonomy, including by providing security from harm or abuse.
Council of Europe, 2016
The thousands of human beings who have already been through the severe pain of torture also face a range of devastating long-term consequences. In particular, survivors of torture frequently experience chronic pain, headaches, insomnia, nightmares, depression, flashbacks, anxiety, and panic attacks, and can become overwhelmed by feelings of fear, helplessness and even guilt because of what happened to them. Feelings of shame and a loss of dignity on the part of torture victims are often compounded by stigmatisation in the community and social isolation. Post-traumatic stress disorder affects both the victims themselves and their families. If left untreated, the consequences of torture can extend throughout a person’s life-time and even beyond, across generations, having a corrosive effect upon entire societies.
This guideline provides recommendations aimed primarily at front-line health-care providers (e.g. general practitioners, nurses, paediatricians, gynaecologists) providing care to children, including adolescents up to the age of 18 years, who have, or may have, experienced sexual abuse, including sexual assault or rape. It can also be useful for other cadres of specialist healthcare providers who are likely to see children or adolescents.
Effectiveness of a brief behavioural intervention on psychological distress among women with a history of gender-based violence in urban Kenya: A randomised clinical trial
R.A. Bryant et al., 2017
Gender-based violence (GBV) represents a major cause of psychological morbidity worldwide, and particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Although there are effective treatments for common mental disorders associated with GBV, they typically require lengthy treatment programs that may limit scaling up in LMICs. The aim of this study was to test the effectiveness of a new 5-session behavioural treatment called Problem Management Plus (PM+) that lay community workers can be taught to deliver
gender based violence mental health post-traumatic stress disorder psychiatric diagnosis psychiatric illness psychosocial intervention sexual violence survivor of GBV therapy trauma treatment violence women