“We are in a cage because of the various traumatic experiences we endure in our lives.” Vincent, a counselor, tells us during a trauma training session. Grace, a survivor of rape, relates to this statement. Living with her grandmother who lost her sight ten years ago and a son, she has no choice but to be the breadwinner of her family. At only 21, she works hard to ensure that the family’s needs such as food, rent, education is catered for. Grace recalls the unfortunate events that happened. “It was around midnight; I was in a hurry to reach home as it was quite late. That was when I was approached by four men who forcefully grabbed me and dragged me to a house that was unfinished.

They beat me and stripped me of my clothes. Each one of them raped me. I tried to scream for help but one of them covered my mouth and threatened to end my life if I continued to scream for help. The men soon left me alone, I took what was remaining of my clothes and went home. After receiving the treatment I still felt uneasy. I couldn’t carry on with my daily activities normally. After a week, a friend invited me to one of the trauma training at the BHESP offices in Roysambu. This training helped me overcome the trauma I was experiencing.”

Our lives are like a river, it has tributaries and also outlets. Tributaries are those things that motivate us to carry on. Family, friends are examples of such tributaries. Outlets are the problems we encounter. They drain us. Trauma is a deep wound that happens when something abnormally shocking or harmful occurs and leaves us feeling overwhelmed and threatened. Trauma leaves a negative impact on a person’s physical, mental and emotional health.

A shadow has been cast over matters to do with mental health for a long time mental health plays a crucial role in enabling each one of us to live a happy and normal life. Through training, BHESP creates a platform for mental health awareness among women who have gone through traumatic experiences such as rape, assault, and violence. By sharing life experiences with each other and also with counselors, the burden is lifted off. These trainings enable women to think of ways of contributing to being a tributary instead of being an outlet in society.

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