Effect of Group Therapy in Restoring Psychological Wellbeing of Sexually Violated Women of 1994 Tutsi Genocide in Rwanda
Ntete, Jeanne Marie
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Sexual violation of women has been found to leave permanent scars on the victims, affecting all spheres of life, therefore, compromising their psychological wellbeing. However, sexual violation is a vice shrouded with social instigated shame and guilt that leaves many victims stigmatized, thus making it difficult for them to seek help. Group therapy has been found to be characterized with curative factors that could circumvent the shame and guilt associated with sexual violation thereby bringing about healing. Ibuka organization has employed group therapy in helping the sexually violated women of the 1994 Tutsi genocide regain their psychological wellbeing in the year 2009. However, since inception of group therapy in Ibuka, there is limited empirical evidence on the effectiveness of the group therapy towards restoring the psychological wellbeing of the women who were sexually violated. Using a biopsychosociospritual theory and group therapy model, this study evaluated the effectiveness of Ibuka group therapy in restoring the psychological well being of the sexually violated women during the 1994 Tutsi genocide. The main design used for the study was a descriptive survey. The targeted population were the sexually violated women who were members of Ibuka group therapy. A sample size of 80 participants in Musanze District drawn from Busogo, Kinigi and Muhoza Sectors under Ibuka group therapy participated in this study. The questionnaire, face to face interviews and focus group discussions were used as methods of data collection. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics while qualitative data was analyzed thematically. The findings show that Ibuka group therapy uses integrated group therapy model to address various needs of the sexually violated women. Through these approaches, group therapy has been effective in helping women overcome their shame and work through trauma experienced during the genocide to foster personal growth, with 87.5 % saying they have experienced personal growth, 82.9 % have improved relationship with others while 84.4 % said they have purpose in life and make plans for their future. Of the sexually violated women under Ibuka group therapy, 76.3 % feel that they experience autonomy while 75.1 % said they cope well with their environment. In general, 80.4 % of the women sexually violated said that they have regained their freedom. These findings were corroborated with the qualitative findings in which women identified several curative factors that have worked for them. Based on these findings, the study concluded that group therapy model is effective in addressing the psychological conditions that are shrouded with shame and guilt that often prevent victims from seeking help. The study therefore recommends that group therapy model should be adopted by other organizations and groups that work with people who experience emotional pain but find it difficult to talk about it due to societal stigma, to help bring about their psychological wellbeing.