Updated: May 7, 2019
Female detainees may survive detention but they cannot escape their community. There is definitely a before and an after, and this distinction is imposed by society. This gap is deepened when a female detainee’s family and loved ones abandon her to a loneliness that is worse than the torments of prison.
Many parents do not know how to deal with their daughter who survived detention. While she is in dire need of support and understanding, many families deliberately exclude their daughter and prevent her from being in contact with her close circle and friends.
What is the best way for family and society to deal with the female survivors of detention, and how can the detainees overcome their social exclusion?
According to social worker Maha Tinawi, families should be educated first about how to deal with prison survivors, since they suffer from great psychological and physical harm upon their release.
Tinawi told Enabbaladi that great care must be used when dealing with a survivor, as she is in a fragile state that requires a lot of attention. Her family members should support her psychologically, socially, and financially.
Moreover, Tinawi stressed the importance of understanding the circumstances of the survivor, who is a victim and not a criminal, and of providing family love and acceptance as well as support to face the outside world.
The family should also talk about the detainee with pride and confront any situation that may expose her to psychological harm. They should not be ashamed of what happened to her, since she is ultimately a victim of events that can happen to any person, whether male or female.
Society should provide material and moral support
Society must accept the idea that a prison female survivor is a victim and treat her as a person who deserves dignity and support.
It is necessary to provide former female detainees with all means of support and psychological and social guidance that help rebuild their trust in the outside world and restore the self-confidence they lost as a result of their suffering. They also need to be offered access to opportunities in terms of work, rehabilitation, and training, in addition to developing their skills and abilities that help them build a new life and involving them in cultural, artistic or professional activities to help them regain their desire to live.
In addition to moral support, society is responsible for providing financial support to female detainees by providing safe housing and environment to help them overcome their suffering and rise again.
A survivor must believe that she deserves life
On the other hand, a survivor can overcome her suffering, deal with society and start a new life by believing in herself and her abilities. She must also believe that she is worthy of life and face society with confidence and pride, and not surrender or be affected by any derogatory words directed at her.
Tinawi stressed the importance of survivor cooperation with the competent persons who provide psychological and social support, because this will greatly help them return to their lives. Moreover, it is helpful for survivors to seek self-development by participating in any events that contribute to their reconstruction according to their capabilities. They can also attend events and activities that contribute to their integration in society.
Determination to start over
On overcoming social exclusion by family and friends, Tinawi said that the former detainees should stay away from these people because they will only represent a burden and release negative vibes that will ultimately lead to a tragic ending.
According to the social worker, survivors must be determined to prove themselves and start again away from any negative influence in their surroundings, and to develop themselves by all means available according to their abilities, in order to be their own support sytem.