Child in the shadowlands

The topic of this blogpost made the headlines in a shocking way this week when US Republican Todd Akin stated that women rarely get pregnant from rape because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Akin’s medieval assertions coincided with the publication of an essay in the Lancet that went in the very opposite direction and requested more attention for children born of rape, in particular in war circumstances.

Lead author Elisa van Ee, clinical psychologist and PhD candidate at Centre ’45 introduces the essay below.

The World Health Organization described children born of rape as at risk of being neglected, stigmatized, ostracized, or abandoned. Cases of infanticide (the killing of an infant) have also been reported. Despite such general concerns, little is known about the fate of these children. Continue reading

Are we winning the fight against Posttraumatic Stress Disorder?

It’s the question Richard McNally, an eminent PTSD scholar in the US, posed in Science earlier this month. The journal devoted a special issue to human conflict and McNally zoomed in on PTSD after combat duty. His comments are worth sharing and have implications that go beyond the military: Continue reading

Former bomb disposal operator writes about posttraumatic stress

I just read the book “Extreme risk – A life fighting the bombmakers”. Chris Hunter describes his (training towards the) life as a British bomb disposal operator in it. He served in Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Iraq, and Afghanistan, amongst others. The book is a good read, and clearly shows the psychological effects of the war tragedies Hunter has witnessed. Although apparently he continued to function well enough to work, he did suffer from quite severe symptoms of posttraumatic stress for some time. One of his biggest losses concerned his wife and two daughters; he divorced, at least partly due to his symptoms and subsequent alienation. Three quotes I think were interesting: Continue reading