It has been established that recovering from the stresses of soldiering in war is very difficult for children, especially for girl soldiers who often find stigmatization when they decide to return to the peaceful life.
According to information obtained from the American embassy, child protection practitioners only recently have been able to uncover evidence that suggests more than 10,000 girls might have been used as soldiers during the decade long war in Angola.
Moreover, the author of a book: “Child soldier, from violence to protection”, Michael Wessells, has been quoted as saying that the information on girl soldiers is very difficult to obtain, and to have told the American government that they don’t have clear data on what happens to girl soldiers during war time.
“We don’t have good data, and I think the primary reason is the enormous stigma.
For a girl to do difficult things, like killing and maiming, is unthinkable. It is much more unthinkable than it is for a boy” he said.
It has been established that child soldiers are used in conflicts in many African countries, like Sudan, Liberia, Uganda, the DRC, Sierra Leone. Also the same problem has been facing children in Colombia, Sri Lanka, Burma, the Philippines, Iran, Iraq and Chechnya.
In such a case, psychologists explain that most former girl soldiers, whether they were recruited or abducted, who served as combatants or simply in support roles, are always trying to hide their experience because of stigmatization.
“In such a case, they fear to tell the truth, they think they will not be able to marry and have normal family lives” explained Wessells.
Some organizations have been established in order to fight this situation.
The Christian Children’s Fund and ten other agencies have already started a participatory action research programme in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Uganda, which focuses on more than 600 former girl soldiers who are now mothers.