Rebuilding the social fabric: community counselling groups for Rwandan women with children born as a result of genocide rape

The 1994 Rwandan genocide subjected thousands of women to rape, many of whom became pregnant as a result. Although mothers and their children born as a result of those rapes are an at risk population, there is very little research or reported programmes addressing their needs. This paper describes a pilot community group counselling programme for these mothers. Quantitative and qualitative data show the groups to be effective. The results suggest that the groups helped the mothers connect with others in a similar situation. The mothers also report an increase in confidence and positive emotions, and a reduction in shame. They further describe an improved relationship with their children. It is hypothesised that the groups helped to restore the social fabric destroyed by the genocide.

Hogwood, Jemma; Auerbach, Carl; Munderere, Sam; Kambibi, Emilienn