The battle to recovery

5 Dec 2016 - 12:45
Associate Professor Sinegugu Duma’s book The Pain of Being a Woman tells the stories of sexual assault trauma of 10 women as they try to find healing.


Story Kate-Lyn Moore. Photo Michael Hammond.

It was while compiling research on sexual violence for her doctoral dissertation that Associate Professor Sinegugu Duma realised that she needed to write a book.

It would tell the story of the emotional and physical pain of 10 women – a pain they carry with them throughout their life.

Duma is an associate professor in the Division of Nursing and Midwifery at UCT and the founder of the Sexual Assault Response Team. She was central to the development of sexual assault forensic nursing. As a result, she was instated into the Hall of Fame for Research Excellence in Nursing by the Forum of University Nursing Deans in South Africa.

Duma’s The Pain of Being a Woman chronicles 10 women’s experiences of rape, trauma and the battle of ongoing recovery.

Hoping to contribute to a narrative that lacks the voices and perspectives of victims of sexual violence, Duma centres the experiences of black South African women as they respond to or recover from sexual assault trauma.

The book is framed within post-apartheid black feminism – a term coined by Duma – in order to affirm the status of black women in the construction of knowledge, as well as their right to participate in knowledge that is being created about their lives.

It aims to bring hope to survivors and to show that, however difficult, recovery is possible. To that end, Duma provides concrete and practical advice through seven steps to aid the course of recovery.

She also speaks to the friends, families and communities of those experiencing trauma and outlines the behaviours that support survivors through their trauma and behaviours that have a negative effect on their recovery.

Recognising the lack of understanding and education surrounding sexual violence, Duma addresses different forms of rape and outlines their consequences, especially if survivors do not receive the support they require.

The book will be launched at 17:00 on Wednesday, 30 November, at Frances Ames, UCT Faculty of Health Sciences, Barnard Fuller Building.

For copies of the book, please contact the author.

This article originally appeared in Today’s news on 30/11/2016.