Experiencing or witnessing violent crimes creates trauma within, and while dealing with the impact of trauma cannot erase the trauma, it can help people manage the impact it has on their lives. South Africa has been referred to as having a “culture of crime” where violence is an acceptable way to deal life issues. Couple this with the rational fear of further trauma through additional violence inevitably heightens one’s level of ongoing trauma, creating a state of hyper-vigilance.
Trauma in South Africa includes political violence, forced removal from homes and torture. People living in South Africa have experienced such a sustained level of trauma (from the many years of violence and apartheid) that it is considered to be experiencing National Trauma Syndrome (NTS). Collectively, these types of trauma have created a chronic state of stress that is caused by living in long-term stressful situations. Trauma has been woven deep within the society and continues to generate fear in many communities.
South Africa’s patriarchal history and perspective of women being subordinate creates the violence surrounding those experiences creates gender equity trauma.
My work with participants will be focused on Trauma-Informed Care and Practice which focuses on the neuroglial, psychological, biological and social effects of trauma. The importance of focusing on the “3 E’s” of trauma, event, experience of event, and the effect it has on a person will be emphasized.
Trauma informed programs include: knowing the deep impact of trauma and suggestions for recovery, recognizing the signs and symptoms of trauma on the client, their family and staff who work with them, how to incorporate trauma-informed policies and procedures as well as ways to avoid being re-traumatized.
Some of the key principles of trauma informed approaches that will be addressed includes: safety, trust, transparency, peer support, empowerment, cultural, historic and gender issues.
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