Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

Healing Africa: Women’s Trauma Healing and Care Center, Buhavu, Great Lakes Region, Eastern Congo

Dr. Victoria Bentley, my writing partner when I lived in Northern California, is volunteering for several weeks with the Buhavu Women’s Trauma Healing and Care Center in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Congo. Dr. Bentley is using her training in Holographic Memory Resolution (HMR) to lend a hand.

Read her blog Healing Trauma in DR Congo: a chronicle of caretakers who are helping women victims of sexual violence recover their lives

Vicki describes the problem like this:

As paramilitary forces continue to fight in the northern provinces around Goma, refugees flee south to Buhavu. As many as 375,000 people have been displaced in the past year, at least 160,000 since October, 2007. The sexual violence and brutality against women there is the worst in the world.

Vicki Buhavu Women’s Trauma Healing and Care Center in the Great Lakes Region, Eastern Congo
Committe members: Cristal, secretary (holding Pepa); Kishi; Yves, counselor; Martha, crochet teacher; Dr. Victoria; Natalie, soap making; Amina, Director.

Vicki describes her purpose like this:

I’m going to Congo because I have been called forth, morally . . . and because I can at this time in my life. My heart breaks to know these women are raped and tortured, then left to fend for themselves, traumatized and alone. The secondary trauma of having nowhere to live and no way to feed their children is as bad as the initial trauma. They wonder why no one from the West comes to help them.

I learned a trauma therapy process named Holographic Memory Resolution (HMR) about 10 years ago and, ever since, have wanted to use it to help women who are victims of war. It’s a body-centered technique that changes the emotional charge of a memory—works great, is the most effective therapy tool I’ve learned in 30 years. It’s also simple to teach and easy to learn, an excellent way to help these women remember that part of them that walks in beauty and loves to dance, the part that can never be defiled.

It is my belief that women in the Congo are no different than women everywhere. It is my great hope that learning about these profoundly disturbing events will awaken a “fierce compassion” in you to take a stand against them, as it has me. We must remember that every action we take, large or small, makes a difference to every other living creature on the planet.

It is entirely possible that by working together to stop violence we can expand consciousness to a critical mass, shifting from a culture of world violence to one of peace. I want nothing less than an end to violence against women and children worldwide. Working collectively as an international community, we have the power to do that. We have the power to change the world.

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