Human Security, Jaffna, Peace and Conflict, Politics and Governance

The psychological trauma of an age old war


A recent survey conducted by a social organisation in Savatkadu, Anaikodai Jaffna under a the supervision of a psychiatrist, revealed the silent suffering of generations who’ve witnessed the war first hand.

The killings, abductions and disappearances that take place daily have contributed to decades of mental agony which are finally taking its toll in the manifestation of an aggressive society.
The survey revealed that the majority of young widows had lost their husbands due to killings or abductions. All the young widows were with mental depression.

Their children in the age group of 1- 10 years displayed signs of stubbornness, urinating in the bed, and pain in the limbs. However it was indicated in the survey that these disorders were purely psychological impacts of the horror incidence they witnessed or heard.

The Elderly have now grown accustomed to the killings and abductions of their kith and kin including their children, in-laws and friends. They are tired of grieving; attending funerals, there’s no one to console one another; each and every family is victimised daily by the violent activity in Jaffna. They’ve learnt to control their feelings, they hardly laugh or cry.

Such emotions could lead to tendency frustration and finally develop in to long term psychological trauma. The survey also highlighted that community awareness programmes at the village level could help restore these people emotionally.

During the survey it was brought to our attention that a girl, returning from school asks her mother for food by threatening her with a cane. When we inquired about her family, we came to know that her father was abducted in front of the family at gun point.

The survey revealed that psychological trauma had no boundaries where well educated and rich families were affected as well as the poor.

This submission is from Groundview, an independent publication by CHA on humanitarian issues and peacebuilding in Sri Lanka with narratives and content produced by citizens.