Palestinian widows and mothers who lost their child: Between the pride of the martyr and the psychological and social stress of the loss
MENA Dubai 2003 Abstract
||Khawla Abu Baker
||Since the beginning of the Israeli invasion in 1967, many kinds of losses have occurred from the first, second and last Intifada. Families suffer from different kinds of losses (property, health, members of family, detention etc.) and this deeply affects the psychological health of each of them. Often the families are unable to support each other because of the psychological stress of the loss.
In a special program for psychological health named "women and war" adopted by the center of studies of women in Arabic Al Kods, and after studying the suffering in the west coast, 3 support groups were formed in parts of the west coast. This was specifically aimed to help women suffering from physical, social, and psychological problems in their lives and families due to the loss.
For the first time, the group allowed women to tell the story of her loss as she felt it and not only how she was required to say it by Intifada. After analyzing the content of each meeting it appeared that repressing the personal story leads to many pathological symptoms. The paper will talk about (a) the types of psychological problems that women were suffering from, (b) the kinds of psychological and social training received by the participants and (c) changes made by these women in their families resulting from the instruction they received each week in the group and the changes in social attitudes toward the women in the Palestinian society that occurred in the group.
The paper will highlight the issues that were repressed socially and that the women of the groups were able to speak about them.
The paper focuses on the content analysis of each of the meetings that occurred in the three groups and that lasted for 3 hours weekly during the 3 continuous months. The paper will include samples and quotations of the women's authentic stories.
- The reciprocal blame between the husband and wife's families about the loss of the husband martyr
- The common blame of Israel and the blame of the father to the mother of losing the child (also about his detention)
- Grieving after the loss of an opportunity to work inside Israel
- The loss of the sexual relationship between the couple
- Venting against the members of society instead of venting against the invader
Finally, the paper will expose the psychological and professional methods used in the groups that are appropriate for the Palestinian/Arab women from different ages and from educational levels. These methods respect the cultural sensitivity of the daily psychological work with the women.