In the past, our groups of survivors of torture, rape, other human rights violations, families of the prisoners and the families of the disappeared, met as three different units with their own unique experiences, ideologies and identities. Now that these different groups have started sharing their pain altogether there has emerged a sense of belonging to a greater group. This new group feeling has united the survivors closer, giving them a meaning to their pain and vitality to dedicate themselves to a common cause. In sharing, they have been healed individually and as a group. The process of inner healing through group therapy has brought them and their family members to a more stable life and strengthened family bonds.
Their identities and individuation have developed as they have formed themselves into a single group known as the Survivor Group. Group outlook and viewpoint has changed, by shedding a ‘little self’ self-image and now enjoying broader perspective.
As the survivor group started moving towards wholeness and integration, the young and enthusiastic secondary survivors (family of victims) formed a new group called the ‘Women’s Unit”. The Women’s Unit consists of selected secondary survivors of different ethnicities, creeds and languages. The Women’s Unit has a vision of reconciliation and socialization in the post-war era.
As a first step towards its goal, the women’s unit met together for a two day ‘live in session’ on the 2nd and 3rd of December 2011 in Lewella – Kandy. The theme of the event was ‘Awakening of Female Consciousness in the Cosmos’. During the sessions, a new vision of the cosmos was presented providing a wider vision of the place of women in the family in post-war era society and in the cosmos more generally.
Inspired by what they had learned, the Women’s Unit decided to reach beyond their ‘little self’ to people in northern Sri Lanka. Three Tamil-speaking and three Sinhala-speaking women of the Women’s Unit opted to visit war-affected living in the resettlement village of Nedunkerny, in Mullative District.
To share in the experiences of the war-affected in the north, the women’s unit first went through a three-day session of Grief Therapy. The therapy helped them to relive their own traumatic experiences following which the survivors-turned-healers were able to help in the healing of the war-affected victims.
The Women’s unit shared the rich experience of their visit with other members of the Women’s Unit on March 16th and 17thand look forward to continuing their project in other villages.
"Life experiences are opportunities for growth. Life experiences heal, create, and lead to a more holistic life."
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Human Rights Office Kandy, Torture in Sri Lanka, Disappearances in Sri Lanka, Healing and Counseling
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