04.01 2019

Cooperating person in Norway

The training, a mini-pilot of the manual, was held in the heart of Oslo at the Human Rights House. The pilot resulted from cooperation between the organization HHRI and an intern from the University of Oslo’s HELED department.

GBV Background in Norway

Although Norway is a stable society, GBV and violence in intimate relationships occurs in Norway. The survivors suffer under existing stigma around sexual assault and violence in intimate relationships. The legal system in Norway has received international attention for not addressing the matter seriously enough. GBV is a barrier to equality in a nation that otherwise has made great strides towards equality. Over the years Norway have also received refugees from war and conflict areas, some of these women have been exposed to GBV, and need to be followed up.

Outline of the pilot training

The pilot took place in the Human Rights House over a three day weekend, Friday – Sunday, the first week of October 2013. Initial interest in the pilot and manual was great, with unfortunate illness and job scheduling limiting the attendance.  The result was a small and lively group of diverse background and age. Some participants work with persons suffering from trauma and PTSD in their professions in Norway or in volunteer work. Others wanted to learn more about the topic and particularly practical exercises.  Three nationalities were represented among participants, so the training proceeded in a mix of Norwegian and English.

Day 1 of the training focused on building a good group dynamic, getting to know each other and introducing the manual with the story of the Butterfly woman. Topics from the manual covered on the first day were:  the human rights perspective, GBV as a human rights violation and war-crime, understanding trauma and the relation to GBV.

Day 2 focused on use of the Butterfly woman and metaphors when working with trauma, how to use the Butterfly woman as a metaphor for understanding trauma, reactions, triggers and re-traumatization, practice of the technique with role-play, followed by discussion and reflection. Time was spent on role-play of stabilization techniques to learn from experience and observation.

Day 3 covered the topics sleep and nightmares, triggers and flashbacks and how to aid a survivor in the process of reporting assault. Participants practiced in groups of 2 how to approach survivors and tell the story of the Butterfly woman in an adapted manner. Participants practice stabilization techniques with each other in role play. A healing story for the Butterfly woman was created by everyone together at the end. After the training was completed and diplomas were handed out, we went out to eat dinner together and shared reflections from the weekend.

Participants had with purpose only been given the story of the Butterfly woman in advance of the training, to see how the manual worked without participants having prior experience with the content and format. The format made the manual difficult to follow, while the trainer conducted the training, and/or the participant was distracted by the additional “to the trainer” information that was not said aloud.


Feedback from participants of the training

  • Group discussion and sharing of experience and expertise was useful.
  • Grounding exercises are a great tool to have!
  • Possible to use metaphors in work to aid in understanding of trauma if done with caution and careful adaptation to the situation.
  • Grounding exercises presented visually in a series of drawings that illustrate how to conduct the exercises to avoid discrimination against those that cannot read the instructions and also as a clarification of what is meant in the text could be useful.
  • Role-play by persons experienced with use of the butterfly woman, in front of the group as an audience before the group participants try the method themselves. This was desired by the participants for the grounding exercises and the “approaching of a survivor” parts also, as an opportunity to learn and warm up before they role play if this is very uncomfortable.
  • Difficult to follow the manual alongside listening to the trainer, because of the unfamiliar and complex lay-out.
  • Desire to get the manual in advance of a training session/workshop, due to language barriers, when the manual is not written in the native language or one the participant is fluent in. Some technical terms and complex language.
  • From the trainer: the best preparation for a workshop is to hold a workshop. Practical training is necessary to comfortably lead the practical exercises and direct the group through the metaphors.


How the pilot in Norway influenced the manual

The purpose and use for each stabilization exercise is now described, to give more of a context to the user without prior knowledge of the exercise. All of the stabilization exercises are compiled in the appendices part for easy access/consultation when needed.

The outline of the manual has been modified to be more pedagogical.

It has been implemented in the manaul that role play should be played out for the participants before they try them out on their own.