So,  “Nigeria’s military says it has agreed a ceasefire with Islamist militants Boko Haram – and that the schoolgirls the group has abducted will be released.”

Initial response:  This is wonderful.

Then, I think oh the traumas these girls have endured.  I pray and hope the government and other agencies will be willing to provide various therapies for these young ladies. 

What we know about PTSD:

When the trauma is shared there is a possibility that the symptoms of PTSD may be less intense or severe.  Trauma often leaves individuals feeling alone, scared, and single out as targets making them feel unsafe in the world around them.  When a trauma is shared the nature of the group experience, not being isolated or singled out, it can be healing.  There is research done(which i can’t put my finger on) of the impact of “long boat ride home” for WWII vets vs the transcontinental flights alone that Vietnam veterans experienced and the relationship with PTSD symptoms.  The former seemingly to have fared better than the latter partly due to this group shared experience.

There is also the fact that support can aid in the healing process.  Research (can’t put my finger on that either) shows that when a trauma survivor is blamed, ostracized, and condemned for their trauma they tend to have a more severe symptoms pattern  (e.g
Vietnam vets vs WWII and their acceptance upon returning to the US).  These girls have been embraced by different races and cultures.  Their return has been begged for by different countries and people they have never met.  This too may be in their favor.

It is also known that the earlier in life someone experiences trauma and the longer they endure active engagement in the trauma the more detrimental the effects are on their adjustment, coping, and personality development.  These young girls are in formidable stages of their development.  Children can be resilient, but early intervention is key.

Also, in war and POW situations, enduring injuries also increases the impact of the trauma and exacerbates symptoms.  Injuries in this situation may also be sexual and will need be addressed delicately with a population in which women’s sexuality is not discussed.

What I know is that early intervention and wrap around services and support must be in place in order to capitalize on those things in their favor and get them the help they need so they can adjust and prayerfully thrive despite the traumas they have survived.

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