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Title: Surviving rape and the cultural stigma of rape: psychological distress and resilience amongst Eritrean asylum seekers in Israel
Author: Kahn, Diddy Mymin
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2013
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Eritrean asylum seekers have suffered severe trauma en passage via the Sinai Peninsula en route to Israel. This study seeks to understand the meaning of these experiences to these women. In depth interviews were conducted with 14 Eritrean women using qualitative methods in accordance with grounded theory. While the study found that these women reported traumatic experiences and suffered considerable distress as a result of their experiences, their general resilience and coping were central to their narratives. Both their distress and their resilience were mediated in tenns of their perceptions of the cultural stigma and existential plight associated with the trauma they had experienced and the aftennath they were living through. The presence of cultural stigma tends to increase distress, while their absence tends to reduce distress. Separately, the study showed that regardless of the relative severity of their distress, the women used a number of coping strategies which were also culturally mediated and enhanced the women's resilience. These included silence regarding their experiences, social support, reliance on religious bel iefs, adaptive avoidance and psychosocial assistance. The study concluded that constructing a theory of how the women perceive cultural stigma was crucial to an understanding of the psychological impact of rape for Eritrean asylum seekers. The study also concluded that the acknowledgement of the coexistence of the distress of rape with great resilience was essential to providing effective assistance. The implications of these conclusions are that psychosocial assistance among members of this population should be focused on resilience based mental health efforts. These efforts would be best supported by access to rights by state institution support of resilience (through provision of shelter, healthcare, and economic empowerment) in order to promote the mental health of Eritrean women who have been raped and tortured in the Sinai desert.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available