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CHIBOW Researcher takes part in debate on “Trauma of War Rape and Forgiveness – Children Born of War

Within the Program of the Faculty of Catholic Theology of the University of Sarajevo: From war to reconciliation, contribution of religious communities to healing and reconstruction of the society, a CHIBOW researcher Amra Delic from the University of Medicine Greifswald participated in its academic cycle of theology debates “Forgiveness and Reconciliation” organized by the Faculty of Catholic Theology and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Foundation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the debate, Delic gave a lecture on “Trauma of War Rape and Forgiveness. Children born of war”, and afterwards, took part in a panel discussion on this topic together with Mrs. Mirsada Tursunovic, a survivor of war rape, and Dr. Zorica Maros, the Program leader.

Amra’s lecture focused on psychological pathways to and the complexities of forgiveness in women victims of war rape and forced motherhood, emphasizing that inappropriate community response to conflict-related sexual violence, including societal blame and stigma attached to women survivors and “children born of war” worsened mental health outcomes of war rape trauma, and impeded the recovery of the victims. She raised the issue of common misunderstanding of forgiveness, which is often confused with ignoring the reality of the offense and trying to forget it, and cited C.S. Lewis: “Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive …” Delic concluded that forgiveness should be viewed as a process including personal and conscious will to forgive, and in the context of conflict-related sexual violence and the consequences resulting from such severe offense, it requires serious consideration of the damages caused by an offense that can impact someone’s entire life. It was also pointed out that the lack of empathy and denying atrocities / war crimes committed against women and wider community delay the process of healing and forgiveness. Thus, within the programs of reconciliation and peacebuilding, the practice of the acknowledgment of truth and harms suffered by victims of war rape, including children born out of rape, should also be advocated wider in support to achieving the goals of justice, reconciliation, and inner and outer peace.

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