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Trauma, grief, and bereavement after genocide: the Rwandan case

In: Handbook of Genocide Studies


  • Amélie Faucheux


Does genocide ever end? Can a survivor’s traumatic memory be doused? Can time heal the mourning of loved ones when they are more than fifty, sometimes a hundred to have been slaughtered? This chapter reviews the complex question of grief in genocide survivors and the interplay between trauma and loss in the Rwandan Tutsi Genocide of 1994. First, it addresses definitions of this particular interference of mourning and trauma, highlighting how different loss in genocide is from any other loss because the individual is not attacked in the same way, in the same extent or in the same length. It underlines the role of various psychological processes, especially the leading part of the dehumanization process, and the degree of attachment to the persons dramatically lost and, the specificity of the Rwandan Tutsi genocide, the degree of previous attachment of the victims to the killers. This is, without a doubt, a singularity that leads to a very peculiar grief (Betrayal Mourning). Second, it offers a sociological view, along with on the grounds interviews extracts and psychologist’s surveys, on how victims have tried to assess their traumatic grief, and describe the processes involved in the development of lessening, yet reduced but never forgotten, of this kind of extreme, and even severest, traumatic bereavement.

Suggested Citation

  • Amélie Faucheux, 2023. "Trauma, grief, and bereavement after genocide: the Rwandan case," Chapters, in: David J. Simon & Leora Kahn (ed.), Handbook of Genocide Studies, chapter 13, pages 180-196, Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:elg:eechap:20371_13

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