The Science and Politics of Rehabilitating Torture Survivors by James Jaranson – Social&Family Issues Example

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"The Science and Politics of Rehabilitating Torture Survivors by James Jaranson" is a wonderful example of a paper on social and family issues. The article titled “ The Science and Politics of Rehabilitating Torture Survivors” and written by James Jaranson just like its title states is basically about torture victims who are a forgotten lot in most government when it comes to their rehabilitation. Torture rehabilitation is a movement which is by healthcare professionals and it aims at caring for the survivors of torture (that is either physical, mental or both) by governments.

The most basic rehabilitation these people require is for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which majority of these torture survivors suffer from. The author has addressed this issue using two frameworks: that of politics and science (Jaranson and Popkin, 1998).   On a political front, torture is carried out to people who are extreme leftists or rightists and hence challenge the government. Torture is, therefore, a way to weaken, destroy or humiliate them among serving other purposes. Healthcare professionals concentrate more on the psychological effects of torture reason being physical effects may heal but the psychological effects last longer or even forever to some.

As mentioned earlier, the most severe of the psychological effects is PTSD. Other than symptoms of PTSD and other individual psychological problems, there are no specific symptoms of torture known. On a scientific front, scientific research on torture has been less prevalent compared to other psychological effects exhibited by torture. It is this lack of scientific research that has made the issue of torture not be accorded the seriousness it deserves by most governments. According to the author, lack of government support (which means a lack of political support) is what has made the scientists and researchers not pay much attention to research on torture and torture rehabilitation. Other than lack of political support to conducting scientific research on torture, there are complexities in the methodologies that can be used to conduct such research.

This is due to the fact that many torture victims do not want to relive that moment again by relaying the details of what happened to them, others lack trust, and they are ashamed, fearful or even guilty while the others suffer from amnesia that selectively blocks some of the details of the torture. Lack of scientific research about torture means that even treatment and other forms of rehabilitation suffer since they either take too long to get the best treatment or have to employ the same treatment methods for other torture victims irrespective of the type of torture they suffered or for how long. Discussion Questions Based on the article discussion, there are several questions that need further explanation or clarification. Since most governments fail to procure enough funds to conduct extensive scientific research on the subject of torture or even torture rehabilitation since many of the torture victims are either foreigners or offenders, how do they expect the healthcare professionals to effectively rehabilitate torture victims who were innocently tortured in a foreign nation due to political grudges between these two nations, for example, the innocent Americans (journalists, doctors or tourists) tortured by the Afghanis? Is it not ironic that the governments torture people under political torture and then allows healthcare professionals to rehabilitate them? The healthcare professionals according to the article only care about the survivors of torture and aim to rehabilitate them.

What then happens to families (especially immediate family members like spouses and children) of such torture survivors who also suffered psychologically when their loved one was being tortured (Gerrity, Keane and Tuma, 2001)? What is being done to rehabilitate them? And if nothing, why not or what are the future plans to deal who that issues?


Gerrity, E. T., Keane, T. M. and Tuma, F. (2001). The Mental Health Consequences of Torture. New York: Springer.

Jaranson, J. M. and Popkin, M. K. (1998). Caring for Victims of Torture. Virginia: American Psychiatric Pub.

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