Child soldiers and the impact of violence and trauma on their psychosocial development in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Phakathi, Mnikeni Comfort
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This study has reviewed psychological, social, economic and political literature, which focus on analysing and quantifying the Child Soldier (CS) phenomenon. It acknowledges the contributions made by lawmakers and theorists in trying to understand and prevent the scourge from persisting in the Democratic republic of Congo and spreading globally. As proposals increase on how the children can be rehabilitated and reintegrated into original societies or places of safety, some activists prefer a long lasting political solution particularly an accountable management of natural resources through a democratically elected government. There are many factors contributing to the devastation suffered by child soldiers such as wide spread poverty and lack of infrastructure such as roads, schools and recreational facilities for children which inhibits development. Psychologists suggest digging deeper into the effects of stress and trauma on children affected by war because such children suffer pathologies greater than a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In addition, political economists argue that natural resources dependence and the unequal distribution have prolonged the war in the DRC and neighbouring countries. Research proves that children show remarkable resilience when faced with danger and abuse. They choose to forget the life threatening events as a survival mechanism. Misremembering helps them survive initially at the military camps. They apply the same mechanisms during reintegration with safer communities.
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