Columbia Student Researches Traumas Caused by Pinochet Dictatorship in Young Mothers; Pregnant Women and their Descendants


Editor's note:

Yasmin Butt’s study abroad program in Chile focused on public health, indigenous customs, community welfare and empowerment. 

July 17, 2018

Yasmin Butt, an undergraduate rising senior at Columbia University studying Psychology and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies spent four months in Chile participating in a study abroad program focused on public health, indigenous customs, community welfare and empowerment (from late February to early June 2018). The program was mainly based in the Northern city of Arica, but she also spent time in Santiago and traveled south to Temuco.

Her field-work was affiliated with the University of Tarapaca (UTA). The topics she explored included intercultural and alternative healing in indigenous Mapuche and Aymara cultures, national healthcare policies in the private and public sphere, and traditional medicine in relation to birthing practices taught by indigenous community specialists such as Püñeñelchefe´s, parteras, yatiri’s and others. In addition, she completed a month-long research project titled, 'No Longer Silenced: Transgenerational Transmission of Trauma Caused by the Dictatorship in Chile in the Case of Young Mothers, Pregnant Women and their Descendants” that sought to comprehend the traumas that women victims of the Chilean dictatorship live with, and how they have an impact on their lives and that of their subsequent generations. “The specific objectives were to understand the violence the dictatorship exercised against women, particularly those that were pregnant or young mothers, to reveal the ways their trauma is manifested in the present lives of these women and their families, and to identify coping methods used to confront this trauma”, she explained.